Antivirus software mogul John McAfee, who has been awaiting extradition from Spain on tax evasion charges since late last year, just had his legal woes compounded by federal prosecutors in Manhattan on Friday morning. The 75-year-old computer programmer now also stands accused of a $13 million fraud and money laundering.
Prosecutors claim that McAfee and Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., an executive adviser of his cryptocurrency team, engaged in a “pump-and-dump” scheme known as “scalping,” where they bought large quantities of publicly traded cryptocurrency altcoins at cheap rates to be peddled on social media.
“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,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss wrote in a statement. “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. McAfee, Watson, and other members of McAfee’s cryptocurrency team allegedly raked in more than $13 million from investors they victimized with their fraudulent schemes. Investors should be wary of social media endorsements of investment opportunities.”
Watson, 40, was arrested on Thursday night in Texas and will be presented before a federal judge there on Friday.
This is a developing story.
Read the complaint below:
(Photo by ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP via Getty Images)
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