Antivirus software creator charged with cheating investors

Published March 6, 2021
John McAfee, co-founder of McAfee Crypto Team and CEO of Luxcore and founder of McAfee Antivirus, speaks at the Malta Blockchain Summit in St Julian's, Malta on November 1, 2018.  — Reuters
John McAfee, co-founder of McAfee Crypto Team and CEO of Luxcore and founder of McAfee Antivirus, speaks at the Malta Blockchain Summit in St Julian's, Malta on November 1, 2018. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee was indicted on fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges alleging that he and cohorts made over $13 million by fooling investors zealous over the emerging cryptocurrency market, authorities said on Friday.

McAfee, 75, was charged in a newly unsealed indictment in Manhattan federal court along with Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., who served as an executive adviser on what prosecutors described as McAfee’s so-called cryptocurrency team.

Prosecutors said Watson, 40, was arrested on Thursday night in Texas and would make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Dallas. McAfee, authorities said, is detained in Spain on separate criminal charges filed by the US Justice Department’s tax division. It was not immediately clear who would represent the men.

McAfee and Watson exploited a widely used social media platform and enthusiasm among investors in the emerging cryptocurrency market to make millions through lies and deception, US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement describing crimes in 2017 and 2018.

The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to conceal their true, self-interested motives, she added.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2021

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