A day after being indicted for several criminal offenses, including money laundering schemes and fraud, John McAfee has called the allegations brought by US authorities “overblown.” The former software antivirus creator also defended his ICO promotions and receiving payments with the particular coins.
DOJ Goes After McAfee
The former antivirus tycoon made a name in the cryptocurrency space a few years back with the “Coin of the Day” campaign, in which he promoted certain low-cap alternative coins and somewhat outrageous promises that if BTC didn’t reach $1 million by the end of 2020, he would eat his male genitalia.
While he failed to complete the latter as BTC came a long way from his price prediction, he received a lot of criticism about the promotions. The situation escalated on Friday as the US Department of Justice brought official charges against McAfee and his executive advisor – Jimmy Watson Jr.
The authorities charged both with conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities and touting fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and substantive wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy offenses from two schemes related to the fraudulent promotions.
US Attorney Audrey Strauss said that 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.”
Ultimately, Strauss explained that McAfee, Watson, and the rest of the team “raked in” more than $13 million from investors.
McAfee Responds: Allegations Are Overblown
The “Coin of the Day” campaign, which later turned into “Coin of the Week,” allowed McAfee to post about various crypto tokens that he supposedly believed were undervalued. Having more than one million followers on Twitter, though, every time he posted about a particular coin, people rushed in to purchase it, which skyrocketed the price.
However, this allowed people who were early on to dispose of their assets in a rather profitable way. It led to sharp price corrections and losses for the investors who followed McAfee’s Twitter publications – this is better known as “pump and dump.”
Nevertheless, McAfee, who is currently in a Spanish prison, offered his side of the story earlier today. He believes that the coins didn’t plummet in value because of an alleged scheme. Instead, he blamed it on the year-long bear market that the crypto market faced in 2018.
Furthermore, McAfee claimed that he and his team kept most coins they received as payments for the promotions and called the allegations “overblown.”
The SEC allegations:
My team evaluated every promotion based on management, business plans and potential. No one could have foreseen the altcoin market crash.
We were paid in the same coins that crashed. The SEC allegations are overblown.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) March 6, 2021