Antivirus software creator charged with cheating investors

NEW YORK (AP) — Antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee was indicted on fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges alleging that he and cohorts made over USD13 million by fooling investors zealous over the emerging cryptocurrency market, authorities said on Friday.

McAfee, 75, was charged in a newly unsealed indictment in Manhattan federal court along with Jimmy Gale Watson Jr, who served as an executive adviser on what prosecutors described as McAfee’s “so-called cryptocurrency team”.

Prosecutors said Watson, 40, was arrested on Thursday night in Texas and would make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Dallas.

McAfee, authorities said, is detained in Spain on separate criminal charges filed by the United States (US) Justice Department’s tax division.

Attorney Arnold Spencer, representing Watson, said his client is a decorated former Navy Seal.

“He fought for other people’s rights and liberties, and he is entitled to and looks forward to his day in court to exercise some of those very rights,” he said in an email.

“Criminal indictments are blunt instruments, not precise scalpels,” Spencer added. “This is not the right place to debate whether cutting edge technologies like cryptocurrencies are securities, commodities, or something else.”

It was not immediately clear who might represent McAfee. There was still no lawyer listed for him in the Memphis, Tennessee, federal court where tax charges were lodged against him in October.

Antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee. PHOTO: AP