NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer whose former company still bears his name, has been indicted on fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charges stemming from two cryptocurrency schemes, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.
Authorities accused McAfee and his bodyguard, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., of exploiting McAfee’s large Twitter following to artificially inflate prices of “altcoins” through a so-called pump-and-dump scheme, and concealing payments McAfee received from startup businesses to promote initial coin offerings.
The Justice Department said McAfee and his accomplices reaped more than $13 million from the schemes. The charges were brought in Manhattan federal court.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed related civil charges concerning the alleged pump-and-dump scheme.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement: “As alleged, 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.”
Lawyers for McAfee could not immediately be identified. McAfee is being detained in Spain following his arrest there on tax evasion charges…