Pump and dump. John McAfee is a name that many in the computing technology world are familiar with, and some who are involved in crypto may have heard of him, too.
More specifically, during the bull run of 2017 that say Bitcoin and other altcoins reach new highs.
Former antivirus guru and international fugitive, the latest of McAfee is that he has been charged with crimes including fraud and money laundering over his promotion of cryptocurrencies on social media all those years ago.
Take his following tweet, for instance:
I am inundated by people asking me for recommendations on cryptocurrencies. If you would use your heads you would figure out that the privacy coins (anonymous transactions) will have the greatest future. Coins like Monero (XMR), Verge (XVG), or Zcash (ZEC) cannot lose.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) December 13, 2017
Or this one:
Coin of the day: Digibyte (DGB). Using a Blockchain which is 40 times faster than Bitcoin and having one of the most decentralized mining systems in the world – based on 5 different synergistic algorithms. DGB adherents call the coin "The Sleeping Giant".https://t.co/7MiWJ2tFfe
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) December 23, 2017
Well, the US government alleges that McAfee and his partners took part in pump-and-dump schemes with multiple cryptocurrencies. Prices of promoted cryptocurrencies were artificially driven up, and then holdings were sold at inflated prices.
Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss provides the lowdown in a statement:
“As alleged, 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. The defendants allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to conceal their true, self-interested motives.”
He was also involved in the promotion of ICOs, also known as initial coin offering, fundraising events without disclosing that a significant portion of the money raised would actually go to McAfee and his associates.
Even his tweets were expensive. As this image from the McAfee Crypto Team website reveals, he charged $105,000 per tweet.
Long story short, McAfee and the rest of his crypto team collectively pulled more than $13 million through these schemes. He and Watson are now facing seven charges in total, with distinct possibility of facing prison time.
The fraud and money laundering charges are only the latest in the long list of legal troubles that McAfee has been facing. He is currently in custody in Spain, fighting extradition since his arrest last year.
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