John McAfee indicted on tax evasion charges
John McAfee, the creator of the anti-virus software named after him, was indicted on tax evasion charges, according to documents that were unsealed on Monday.
Federal prosecutors charged McAfee with tax evasion and willfully failing to file tax returns in an indictment dated from June 15, according to the Department of Justice. The indictment was unsealed after McAfee’s arrest in Spain where he is awaiting potential extradition.
The software creator allegedly earned millions after he consulting work, speaking events, promoting cryptocurrencies and selling the rights to his story for a documentary. But authorities said that between 2014 and 2018, he did not file tax returns “despite receiving considerable income from these sources.”
Federal officials argue that McAfee avoided his tax debts by having his income paid in bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts “in the names of nominees.” He also allegedly tried to evade the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by hiding financial assets, such as real property, a vehicle and a yacht.
The Justice Department notes the indictment does not mention that McAfee earned any income or had a connection to the anti-virus business named after him.
If convicted, McAfee could face up to 25 years for tax evasion and up to five years for willful failure to file a tax return.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asserted that from at least November 2017 to February 2018, McAfee suggested cryptocurrencies that he was paid to recommend without disclosing the payments, Reuters reported.
The SEC labeled McAfee’s promotions as “materially false and misleading” saying he tried to sell “virtually worthless” cryptocurrency by urging investors to buy tokens without revealing his own holdings.
“McAfee leveraged his fame to make more than $23.1 million in undisclosed compensation” through suggesting at least seven initial coin offerings to his Twitter follows, the SEC alleged, according to Reuters.
The agency is attempting to fine McAfee and ban him from being an officer or director of any company that reports to the SEC.
The SEC is also seeking charges against McAfee’s bodyguard Jimmy Gale Watson, Jr., including for allegedly aiding and abetting in the sale of cryptocurrency.