John McAfee, the 74-year-old software magnate-turned-crypto-bull, is being indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) for charges of money laundering and fraud. The indictment was unsealed on March 5, by the Southern District of New York and the FBI, charging McAfee and his associate Jimmy Watson with securities fraud.
Per the press release, the charges are tied to his so-called “McAfee Team,” and their crypto operations. While Jimmy Watson, reportedly served as an “executive adviser” to McAfee’s alleged cryptocurrency squad.
The guilty have been charged with “conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities and touting fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and substantive wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy offenses stemming from two schemes relating to the fraudulent promotion to investors of cryptocurrencies qualifying under federal law as commodities or securities,” according to the release.
Federal prosecutors stated that McAfee leveraged his social media presence to engage in “age-old pump-and-dump schemes.”
Audrey Strauss, Manhattan U.S. Attorney, explained that McAfee’s Twitter account provided a lot of evidence. She noted:
“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,” Strauss said. “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.”
U.S. prosecutors along with Strauss claim that the McAfee team amassed over $13 million from investors. “Investors should be wary of social media endorsements of investment opportunities,” Strauss added.
The prosecutors added that these charges were brought about after investigations that took place in 2017 during the crypto bull run and expanded to 2018, prosecutors note.
As previously reported by The Daily Chain, McAfee was sued by SEC for past promotion of initial coin offerings (ICOs) on social media. It was reported that he purportedly got BTC and ETH worth more than $11.6 million for advancing seven ICOs in 2017 and 2018.
The regulator had claimed that in-between November 2017 and February 2018, McAfee recommended cryptographic forms of money, paid to promote. Back then he denied being paid by the issuers in any way.