The name “John McAfee” is now as synonymous with cryptocurrency failure and tax evasion as it is with anti-virus protection, and most recently the name was used by criminals impersonating the embattled billionaire in a scheme to trick Twitter users into sending them crypto.
While he wasn’t behind that latest scheme, McAfee doesn’t come out clean in all of this except in tax anarchy circles. Fresh charges have just been laid against him by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A controversial businessman and anti-virus creator, McAfee was arrested by Spanish authorities over the weekend and currently is pending extradition to the United States.
According to the indictment, McAfee hid millions in income from the IRS earned from consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary. As a result, it is alleged, he failed to file any tax returns from 2014 to 2018. The charges also include concealing assets, such as real estate and yachts.
McAfee has never been shy about his tax issues. Indeed, only last year, he Tweeted that he hadn’t filed tax returns for eight years.
“I have not filed a tax return for 8 years. Why? 1: taxation is illegal. 2: I paid tens of millions already and received Jack Shit in services. 3. I’m done making money. I live off of cash from McAfee Inc. My net income is negative. But i am a prime target for the IRS. Here I am,” he wrote.
According to the SEC charges, McAfee made over $23 million by “leveraging his fame and recommending seven cryptocurrency ICOs between 2017 and 2018, which allegedly turned out to be essentially worthless.”
None of the income is connected with his anti-virus software firm.
McAfee is surely not the first (nor will he be the last) celebrity to hide money from the IRS, or to promote cryptocurrency, for that matter.
From Katy Perry showing off her crypto manicure to Snoop’s Blockchain Week performances, celebrity interest in digital currencies had in some ways been construed as a sign of growing acceptance.
At least two dozen celebrities such as actors Jamie Foxx and William Shatner, boxer Floyd Mayweather and hotel heiress Paris Hilton, among others, have publicly endorsed several projects ahead of their respective token sales.
But even with celebrity backing, plenty have failed.
In 2018, Steven Seagal endorsed the Bitcoin ICO that claimed to be a better version of bitcoin. They reportedly raised $75 million and then bailed.
DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather Jr. also found themselves attached to the Centra Tech ICO that raised over $32 million. The project was targeted by the SEC and its founders were charged and indicted for fraud.
Also in 2018, Federal authorities arrested the CEO of a cryptocurrency operator based in Dallas for allegedly defrauding investors out of $4 million in a digital coin scheme that legendary boxer Evander Holyfield had endorsed.
“I am really excited about this. The more I can do, the better. Cryptocurrency seems to be a good way to help the causes that I care about,” Holyfield was quoted as saying one month right before the SEC shut Arise down.
Jared Rice, Sr., CEO of AriseBank, was arrested on charges of securities and wire fraud.
According to the charges, Rice scammed investors out of $4.2 million by selling AriseCoin tokens and promising that customers would receive Visa credit cards and accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Neither the cards nor the FDIC accounts existed
According to his plea agreement from last year, the U.S. government and Rice have agreed that the defendant should spend 60 months in prison, but the sentence is still pending.
By Fred Dunkley for Safehaven.com
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