So alleges the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which in a complaint released Monday charged the man most recently associated with promising to eat his own dick on national television with secretly pumping ICOs for profit. What’s more, according to the Department of Justice, McAfee was arrested in Spain “where he is pending extradition” for charges of tax evasion.
Like Steven Seagal and DJ Khaled before him, McAfee stands accused of making behind-the-scenes deals to promote cryptocurrency tokens without disclosing to his social media followers that he was being compensated for doing so. In other words, McAfee would tout some random token as “a world changing coin” — as he did in December of 2017 with SETHER — and shockingly fail to mention that, according to the SEC, he had been promised 30 percent of daily funds raised via the ICO.
The SEC complaint covers seven ICOs, running from November of 2017 to January of 2018, and claims McAfee made millions for his promotional involvement. It highlights 40 tweets, and the corresponding approximately $23 million worth of bitcoin, ether, and tokens he made in return.
One tweet highlighted in the complaint involves a rap video, starring McAfee, with the lyrics “Pickin’ ICOs that’s a motherfucking cash vault.”
The SEC appears particularly incensed that, when asked if he was being paid to promote specific ICOs, McAfee insisted that he was not.
“I merely sift through the mass if [sic] tokens to find the gems and share them,” he wrote in 2017.
According to the SEC, McAfee made over $10 million in bitcoin, ether, and tokens for promoting the very ICO he denied being paid to promote in that specific tweet.
I do not. I merely sift through the mass if tokens to find the gems and share them. It’s in everyone’s interest to support coins that improve our lives.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) December 20, 2017
McAfee, whose eponymous antivirus software became a household name in the 1990s, is not the first mildly popular Twitter personality to run afoul of the SEC. Just last month the SEC charged the rapper T.I. with, like McAfee, failing to disclose he was paid to promote an ICO. T.I., real name Clifford Joseph Harris, agreed to pay a fine of $75,000.
McAfee, for his part, may not get off so easily.
In addition to the SEC charges, the Tax Division of the Department of Justice indicted the self-style crypto mogul on charges of tax evasion. He faces five years in prison for that charge alone, and additional years in prison for multiple counts of willful failure to file a tax return.