On Monday, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unsealed criminal charges against a popular Bitcoin supporter and Antivirus software magnate, John McAfee. According to reports, McAfee has been arrested in Spain and will soon be extracted back to the US. There are high chances that he might be facing up to five years imprisonment if he’s found guilty.
DOJ Charges Against John McAfee
According to the DOJ indictment, John McAfee was charged with tax evasion and for willfully failing to file tax returns. Following his popularity, the software magnate reportedly engaged in cryptocurrency promotion for about seven different Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). He also performed other activities outside cryptocurrency, which yielded huge incomes for him.
“McAfee’s extravagant posts (such as tweeting predictions about BTC price increases and promising to ‘eat my d**k on national television’ if such predictions did not pan out) … generated an enormous amount of publicity,” the SEC noted in a separate document. In total, it was estimated that McAfee raised about $23 million from these projects.
McAfee’s bodyguard, Watson, was also named in the SEC complaint document for facilitating the actions of the McAfee. He allegedly helped the software magnate negotiate with ICO issuers, tout schemes, and monetize the promotions in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). In return, defendant Watson was paid more than $316,000 by McAfee for his assistance, per the SEC document.
No more hiding
However, John McAfee failed to file the tax reports of these activities between 2014 and 2018. During these times, McAfee used the different crypto exchange and bank accounts of his nominees to receive all the payment. Also, he concealed most of his properties, vehicles, yacht, including assets using the names of others. This was employed to conceal and evade his tax liability according to the indictment.
Noteworthily, these are charges brought against John McAfee are still mere claims, and will only be sentenced if found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. McAfee is likely to face up to a maximum sentence of five years if he’s found guilty. The US authorities also seek restitution and monetary penalties.