John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer of McAfee securities was indicted on Friday, March 5, based on several criminal charges. McAfee has been charged with 7 charges in total for allegedly “scalping” a $13 million fraud and money laundering involving cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin (DOGE) and Verge.
The 75-year-old founder and his other executive have been named in this cryptocurrency scam. The two were brought to the Southern District of New York on Friday. In a statement, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:
In a statement, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:
“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.
“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”.
Misleading New Crypto Investors to Make Profit
The criminal complaint states that John McAfee and his partner leveraged McAfeee’s 780,000 Twitter following to artificially inflate prices of crypto coins, especially “altcoins”. The complaint notes that the two recommended commodity tokens to would-be-investors without communicating whether or not they have taken any investment positions in those commodities along with their intention of selling them in the short term.
The Federal prosecutors further allege that in the altcoin “scalping” scheme, Mcafee and his team earned $2 million in a very short time frame between December 2017 and January 2018. The authorities noted that the value of all the recommended coins plummeted sometime later.
The authorities found some promotional tweets from McAfee’s Twitter account like “Coin of the Day” or “Coin of the Week”. These tweets included some popular altcoins like DogeCoin, Verge, and Reddcoin. FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney Jr. said:
“As alleged, McAfee and Watson used social media to perpetrate an age-old pump-and-dump scheme that earned them nearly two million dollars”.
McAfee has been involved in a scuffle with the U.S. tax authorities for a long. It dates back to McAfee failing to file taxes between 2014-2018 while receiving “considerable income” from several sources.