Prosecutors say McAfee made millions of dollars promoting cryptocurrencies, speaking engagements, consulting jobs, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary, but did not never filed a tax return. Instead, his earnings went into accounts held on behalf of other people, prosecutors say. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted of tax evasion and one year if convicted of not filing taxes.
It’s the latest legal complication for the eccentric software mogul, who was a person of interest in a murder in Belize, although not charged with a felony, and last year he was detained in the Dominican Republic for entering the country with a cache of firearms and ammunition. He also briefly ran for president in this year’s U.S. election, ending his run from overseas in March.
The criminal charges were announced just hours after the United States Securities and Exchange Commission sued McAfee for promoting the sale of cryptocurrency without revealing that he was being paid to do so.
The commission says McAfee recommended at least seven initial coin offerings to its Twitter followers from at least November 2017 through February 2018 without revealing that it made more than $ 23 million to boost them. He is also accused of having denied being paid at the request of investors.
The SEC seeks to force McAfee to repay all of its ill-gotten gains and to ban him from participating in the issuance, purchase or sale of digital asset securities and unspecified monetary penalties.
McAfee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The commission also accused McAfee of pretending to be an investor or technical advisor, “giving the impression that he had looked at these companies, that they benefited from his technical expertise and that he was prepared to invest in the companies.” ”
When a blogger revealed he was getting paid, McAfee was still holding “virtually worthless” securities from the deals he was promoting and encouraging investors to buy them – without revealing that they were his own securities and that he had paid a third party to recommend them, according to the complaint.
McAfee has also engaged in a practice called scalping, in which he has accumulated large amounts of digital titles and promoted them on Twitter without disclosing his intention to sell, the SEC said.
McAfee founded his eponymous software company in 1987. Intel Corp., seeking to integrate security features directly into its chips, bought the company for $ 7.7 billion in 2010, with TPG and Thoma Bravo taking more stakes late. In 2016, Intel announced that it had signed an agreement to transfer a 51% stake in the company to TPG for $ 1.1 billion. The company filed for a scholarship last month.