John McAfee has been called many things: software pioneer, drug addict, presidential candidate, person-of-interest in a murder case, “bonkers”, and now, tax evader.
McAfee was arrested in Spain by US authorities for alleged tax evasion, and faces extradition to the US. Prosecutors accused McAfee of failing to pay taxes from 2014 to 2018, despite earning millions “promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary,” according to an indictment that the Justice Department unsealed Monday.
💎 Data Digs
- The indictment said that McAfee had been paid through bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts set up by others. McAfee also purchased real estate and a yacht in other peoples’ names in an effort to avoid paying taxes.
- Each count of tax evasion carries a maximum sentence of five years, and each count of failing to file carries a one-year sentence.
- A separate complaint filed by the SEC said McAfee had made upwards of $23 million from 2017 to 2018 by recommending “initial coin offerings” to his Twitter followers. These offerings are a kind of crowdfunding, and McAfee’s followers had no idea he was being paid for his recommendations.
⚔️ Big Picture
- McAfee is no stranger to accusations of illegal activity. In 2012, his neighbor, 52-year-old Gregory Faull, was found dead in his home in Belize from a bullet wound to the head. McAfee fled the country soon after for Guatemala City. He remains a person of interest in the as-yet unsolved case.
- In 2016, McAfee came out of hiding to run in the 2016 US presidential election as a libertarian.
⚡ Get Ahead
McAfee has had a long history of bizarre publicity stunts and shady dealings, but this indictment could put him in jail for several years if he's found guilty. His namesake company isn’t affected by the new developments, as McAfee hasn’t been associated with its founder since the 1990s.