Popular cyber security expert, John McAfee, who founded the widely used McAfee anti-virus software, has been in Spanish prison since October of last year on charges of tax evasion and for conducting illegal promotions of seven initial coin offerings (ICO).
According to the US authorities, McAfee had leveraged his fame to promote these coin offerings and he went ahead to pocket over half of the proceeds from these offerings illegally. The authorities also stated that he failed to inform his teeming followers that he was being paid to offer promotional services for these coins.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleges that the anti-virus founder made over $23 million from these promotions he did via, majorly, his Twitter handle. He then hid the funds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by buying properties like a yacht, a car and others under the name of another person. McAfee had received his payments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and tokens of the asset he promoted.
Since McAfee is locked up in Spanish prison, the regulators are yet to determine how to serve him his papers because his extradition is yet to be completed. One way they could circumvent this is to use the Hague Convention service. In this case, the papers could be served by Spanish authorities on behalf of the US government.
Under US laws, it is illegal for a “famous” individual to leverage his fame to convince “unsuspecting” members of the public about investing in a security. We reported that the authorities had fined Hollywood actor and martial art practitioner, Steven Seagal, for his role in promoting and marketing a B2G token in 2020. Seagal was asked to pay a fine of over $300,000.