John McAfee, founder of the anti-virus software company bearing his name, has been arrested in Spain and is awaiting extradition back to the United States on charges of tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns.
McAfee, 75, failed to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018, despite earning millions from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary, the Department of Justice said Monday.
The computer programmer, who ran for president in 2016 and 2020, allegedly had his income deposited into the bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts of other people. He also allegedly concealed assets like property and a yacht under other people’s names.
If convicted, McAfee faces up to five years in prison for each of the five counts of tax evasion, and up to one year in prison for each of the five counts of failing to file a tax return.
The DOJ charges come at the same time as civil charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleged that McAfee made more than $23.1 million in undisclosed compensation from false and misleading cryptocurrency recommendations.
“Potential investors in digital asset securities are entitled to know if promoters were compensated by the issuers of those securities,” Kristina Littman, SEC Cyber Unit Chief, said in a statement Monday. “McAfee … allegedly leveraged his fame to deceptively tout numerous digital asset securities to his followers without informing investors of his role as a paid promoter.”
McAfee was held for four days in the Dominican Republic last year after being arrested for carrying high-caliber weapons, ammunition and military-style gear aboard his yacht.
He was also previously a person of interest in the murder of his Belize neighbor, American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull. McAfee fled Belize but was arrested in Guatemala and was expected to be extradited, but was never deported after suffering two small heart attacks. He later claimed that he faked the heart attacks in order to secure his release.