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John McAfee facing charges for alleged cryptocurrency 'pump and dump' scheme on Twitter

March 5, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

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John McAfee, founder of McAfee Associates Inc. and chief cybersecurity visionary at MGT??Capital Investments Inc., listens during a Bloomberg Television interview on the sidelines of the Shape the Future: Blockchain Global Summit in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. McAfee, who now runs a bitcoin mining company, says China's banning of initial coin offerings won't halt the momentum of cryptocurrencies globally. Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

John David McAfee, the eccentric antivirus software pioneer, has been indicted on fraud and money laundering charges by the Department of Justice, which alleges he and a business partner participated in a scheme that earned more than $13 million by falsely promoting cryptocurrency to unwitting investors.

New York (CNN Business)John David McAfee, the eccentric antivirus software pioneer, has been indicted on fraud and money laundering charges by the Department of Justice, which alleges he and a business partner participated in a scheme that earned more than $13 million by falsely promoting cryptocurrency to unwitting investors.

McAfee, 75, and a member of his "cryptocurrency team," 40-year-old Jimmy Gale Watson, Jr. , allegedly exploited Twitter and "enthusiasm among investors in the emergency cryptocurrency market to make millions through lies and deception," US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement on the indictment, which was unsealed Friday in Manhattan federal court.

Sweeney Jr. said the allegations boil down to "an age-old pump-and-dump scheme. " The DOJ alleges McAfee, Watson and others would buy cryptocurrencies, hype them to McAfee's Twitter followers, which numbered about 784,000 at the time, to boost prices and then sell for a profit — in addition to promoting cryptocurrency offerings without disclosing they were allegedly receiving payment to do so.

The indictment filed Friday details two schemes McAfee and Watson and other unnamed "McAfee Team members" allegedly carried out from December 2017 to October 2018 that prosecutors say defrauded cryptocurrency investors.

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