John McAfee, a cybersecurity entrepreneur and cryptocurrency evangelist, was indicted Monday on U.S. charges of tax evasion and arrested in Spain.
McAfee, 75, is currently awaiting extradition, with the indictment filed under seal by the Department of Justice in June.
“According to the indictment, John McAfee earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary. From 2014 to 2018, McAfee allegedly failed to file tax returns, despite receiving considerable income from these sources,” read a statement from the Justice Department.
“According to the indictment, McAfee allegedly evaded his tax liability by directing his income to be paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees. The indictment further alleges McAfee attempted to evade the IRS by concealing assets, including real property, a vehicle, and a yacht, in the names of others,” the statement continued.
McAfee faces five years in prison for each count of tax evasion along with one year in prison for each count of willful failure to file a tax return.
McAfee founded computer antivirus firm McAfee Associates in 1975. He made his fortune from developing the McAfee antivirus software and was worth as much as $100 million at the peak of his career in 2007.
In recent years, McAfee has become a political activist, running for the Libertarian Party nomination in 2016. McAfee lost the nomination to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. McAfee launched a 2020 presidential campaign in June 2018, also affiliated with the Libertarian Party. He dropped out of the race in March and endorsed Vermin Supreme.
McAfee also faces separate charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission due to his cryptocurrency endeavors. McAfee was allegedly paid millions to promote investments in initial coin offerings (ICO) to his Twitter followers.
“According to the SEC’s complaint, 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,” it says on the SEC’s website.
McAfee’s bodyguard, Jimmy Watson Jr., was also charged as an accomplice in the scheme.