Too many altcoins shilled: John McAfee charged with crypto ‘pump and dump’ scam
John McAfee has been charged with money laundering and fraud by the US Department of Justice. The charge: running a pump-and-dump scheme that netted over $2 million.
John McAfee is well known in the cryptocurrency field. McAfee was a popular figurehead in the space during the bull run of 2017 and 2018, and the hype around Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) was similar to that of the NFT (Non-Fungible Token) boom Bitcoin Lifestyle currently underway.
However, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claims that McAfee exploited the ICO craze. FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney states that McAfee “allegedly used the same social media platform to promote the sale of digital tokens on behalf of ICO issuers without disclosing to investors the compensation they received to tout those securities on behalf of the ICO.”
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, also stated in a press release that John McAfee and his senior advisor, Jimmy Watson Jr, “allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to post messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (to buy Bitcoin cheap platform comparison) with false and misleading statements to hide their true, self-serving motives.
McAfee, Watson and other members of McAfee’s cryptocurrency team allegedly collected more than $13 million from investors who victimised them with their fraudulent schemes.”
The press release also states that McAfee and Watson committed pump-and-dump schemes that netted them over $2 million.
McAfee and Watson’s actions have now put them at odds with the federal courts. Both face charges of conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities and deception fraud, conspiracy to commit telecommunications fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
In total, the maximum sentence for the pair is 60 years of potential jail time.
Not the first time
McAfee was arrested in Spain on charges of US tax evasion. He had been travelling the world on his yacht. This allowed him to avoid arrest by the US government on the tax evasion charges.