The founder of the popular computer security company, McAfee, John McAfee was charged on Friday with pump and dump scheme by promoting cryptocurrencies on twitter to hike up their value.
According to an indictment unsealed by the US Department of Justice, John McAfee and Jimmy Watson face charges of conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering in connection with schemes to defraud cryptocurrency investors.
US attorney Audrey Strauss, in a report said, “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”.
John, Jimmy and apparently the other members of their ‘cryptocurrency team’ had allegedly sweep over $13 million from the investors, they victimized with their fraudulent schemes, according attorney Straus.
FBI assistant director William Sweeney said, “McAfee and Watson used social media to perpetrate an age-old pump-and-dump scheme”.
He further noted, “When engaging in illegal activity, simply finding new ways to carry out old tricks won’t produce different results.”
According to the indictment, John and Jimmy also used Twitter to promote the digital tokens on behalf of the ICO (initial coin offering) without disclosing they were paid for their efforts by the startups.
John is in custody in Spain pending decision on his extradition to the US where he is wanted for tax evasion.
He has been held in a prison near Barcelona since he was arrested in October in the Spanish city just as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul.
The arrest followed his indictment in June in the United States for tax evasion and wilful failure to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018, despite of earning millions of dollars from consulting work, cryptocurrencies and selling rights to his life story.