Former Libertarian Party (L.P.) presidential hopeful, antivirus software pioneer, and international man of mystery John McAfee has been arrested in Spain while trying to board a flight to Istanbul and is expected to be extradited to the United States soon. A June sealed indictment on tax charges was made public yesterday by the Department of Justice.
McAfee told me in June 2019 while launching his second run for the L.P. nomination (which quickly fizzled out) in exile from Cuba that the very reason he wanted to stay there was that he thought there was no chance he would be extradited from the island to be held accountable for these alleged tax crimes. (He did not actually end up staying in Cuba for very long.) As I reported then, McAfee was already "confident that a grand jury is currently convening and will indict him for tax-related crimes. He admits he hasn't paid income taxes in eight years and says he does not intend to do so ever again."
The indictment claims that McAfee:
earned millions of dollars in income from various sources, including but not limited to: (1) from 2014 through 2016, for speaking engagements; (2) from 2015 through 2016, for the rights to his life story for a documentary; (3) from 2016 through 2018, for work as a consultant; and (4) from 2017 through 2018, for promoting cryptocurrencies….[and failed] to make an income tax return [and has] willfully attempted to evade and defeat income tax due and owing by him to the United States of America.
McAfee faces five counts that have a potential five-year imprisonment and/or quarter-million-dollar fine and five more counts that have potential one-year imprisonment and/or a $100,000 fine.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is simultaneously suing McAfee, alleging he was "promoting investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs) to his Twitter followers without disclosing that he was paid to do so…McAfee promoted multiple ICOs on Twitter, allegedly pretending to be impartial and independent even though he was paid more than $23 million in digital assets for the promotions. When certain investors asked whether he was paid to promote the ICOs, McAfee allegedly denied receiving any compensation from the issuers."
McAfee and an associate are thus charged by the SEC with "violating antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, McAfee with violating the anti-touting provisions…The complaint seeks permanent injunctive relief, conduct-based injunctions, return of allegedly ill-gotten gains, and civil penalties. The SEC also seeks to bar McAfee from serving as a public company officer and director." The aforementioned suit also immortalizes a particularly colorful bit of McAfee lore, referencing "McAfee's extravagant posts (such as tweeting predictions about BTC price increases and promising to 'eat my d**k on national television' if such predictions did not pan out)."
Rob Loggia, who was McAfee's major-domo in his presidential runs and has been hosting McAfee's advice column on his website, said in a written message this morning that "I can only say that his friends and family stand behind him 100% and are working to secure his release."