Both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice announced on Monday that they had opened cases in his name.
The Justice Department plans to sue 75-year-old John McAfee for tax evasion and intentional non-declaration of income for 2014-2018, while the SEC accuses him of recommending certain cryptocurrencies on his Twitter account without revealing that he was paid millions of dollars to do so. The US government says John McAfee received more than $ 23 million in virtual currency to promote such currencies without saying so. The American millionaire would have avoided paying the related taxes, according to the accusers, writes News.ro.
The allegations are directed at John McAfee and are in no way related to the manufacturer of the security solutions that bear his name.
In total, McAfee is facing 10 charges. 5 charges are for tax evasion, each with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. The other 5 are for “intentional failure to file a tax return”, and the maximum penalty in each case is 1 year in prison.
According to prosecutors, McAfee allegedly fraudulently promoted the ICOs of several virtual currencies between 2017 and 2018. In return, McAfee received $ 11.6 million in Bitcoin and Etherium, plus an additional $ 11.5 million in the same coins.
The ICOs were promoted by John McAfee on Twitter, and prosecutors accuse him of hiding the fact that the posts in question are, in fact, advertising and that he is being paid for it.
Prosecutors are also Jimmy Watson, John McAfee’s bodyguard, for the transfer and conversion of virtual currencies that were the payment for the American entrepreneur.
John McAfee faces up to several years in prison if convicted. The allegations of tax illegalities date back to June, but have only now been made public.
McAfee founded the eponymous antivirus software company in the 1980s, but withdrew from it in the 1990s.
In 2012, he came to the attention of media around the world when he was wanted by law enforcement officers after the death of a neighbor in Belize.
After escaping through the jungle, he returned to the United States and ran in the 2016 presidential election. This year, McAfee re-entered the race, but stopped his campaign in March.
John McAfee has a long history of problems with US authorities and in recent years has lived on his yacht in the port of Havana to avoid arrest. Last year, the creator of the antivirus McAfee gave an interview on board the yacht in which he appreciated the confidentiality given by digital currencies.
He also said the income tax was illegal and announced his intention to run in Cuba for his candidacy for the US presidency from the Libertarian Party.
In the interview, the controversial cybersecurity expert said he could help Cuba avoid US sanctions by creating a cryptocurrency.
“It would be easy to bypass the US government’s embargo by using a smart currency system. So I made an official offer to help them, for free … through a private channel, on Twitter, “said McAfee, 74.
US-sanctioned countries, such as Iran and Venezuela, have considered using a digital currency in trade relations, but without doing anything concrete.
“You can’t just create a coin and wait for it to fly. You have to base it on an appropriate blockchain technology, you have to structure it so that it responds to the specific needs of a country or an economic situation “, said McAfee. “There are probably less than 10 people in the world who know how to do that. And I am definitely one of them “, he also stated.
For ideological reasons, McAfee, which founded the Libertarian Party, has not paid taxes for nine years and has been indicted. To avoid trial, McAfee left the United States for the Bahamas and then Cuba.
McAfee has a controversial past. He previously fled Belize, where he had lived for several years, after police searched him in 2012 to question him about a neighbor’s death. He met his wife when she approached him as a prostitute, while he was hiding from the authorities, and last year he claimed on Twitter that he is the father of 47 children.