HomeCryptoFraud charges for John McAfee

Fraud charges for John McAfee

The Department of Justice for the Southern District of New York has filed fraud and money laundering charges against John McAfee

US Attorney Audrey Strauss and Assistant Director of the FBI’s New York Field Office, William F. Sweeney Jr. announced a formal indictment against John McAfee and his executive consultant, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr. for alleged securities and commodities fraud, fraudulent propaganda, and money laundering. 

Watson was arrested in Texas, while McAfee is still in jail in Spain.

Strauss said: 

“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. 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”.

The investments behind the accusations against John McAfee

In fact, in 2017 McAfee began to recommend investments in some cryptocurrencies through his official Twitter profile, but there have always been strong doubts about the validity of that advice, and about McAfee’s impartiality in this regard. 

According to Sweeney, McAfee and Watson used social media to perpetrate a classic pump-and-dump scheme that would have earned them nearly two million dollars. He also accuses them of using Twitter to promote the sale of tokens through ICOs without having declared that they were receiving a fee to advertise them. 

McAfee yesterday justified himself by saying that these charges relate to his “coin of the day” column in which for a few days in 2017 he promoted cryptocurrencies that he believed had value. One of these was Dogecoin, now advertised by Elon Musk, and whose value has since increased by more than 1,000%. 

McAfee therefore rejects the accusations, which nevertheless turn out to be more substantial and structured than his statements might suggest. 

In fact, he is accused, together with Watson, of two fraudulent schemes. 

The first would be “scalping” by means of pump and dump, i.e. buying large quantities of altcoins and then promoting them, driving up their price, and reselling them to make money on the backs of those who had bought them thanks to his promotion. 

The second would be the fraudulent promotion of ICOs, i.e. without disclosing that they were paid promotions, and therefore sponsored. 

In addition, the two would then also have involved another member of the McAfee team to launder the proceeds of these alleged frauds. 

McAfee has been seeking extradition to the US for some time in order to defend himself in court against these allegations. 


Marco Cavicchioli
Marco Cavicchioli
Born in 1975, Marco has been the first to talk about Bitcoin on YouTube in Italy. He founded ilBitcoin.news and the Facebook group" Bitcoin Italia (open and without scam) ".