Anti-Virus Software Creator John Mcafee Indicted for Tax Evasion

October 6, 2020 Updated: October 6, 2020

Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee has been indicted for tax evasion, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday.

An indictment dated June 15 was unsealed by federal prosecutors against McAfee, creator of the eponymous anti-virus software, over charges that he evaded taxes and willfully failed to file tax returns. The tech entrepreneur, 75, was arrested in Spain where he is pending extradition.

According to the indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, McAfee evaded taxes on millions of dollars of income from 2014 to 2018, from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

He did not file tax returns “despite receiving considerable income from these sources,” authorities said.

The indictment alleges that the 75-year-old evaded his tax liability by directing his income to be paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of others. It also alleges that McAfee attempted to evade taxes by using the names of others to conceal his assets, including real property, a vehicle, and a yacht.

It does not allege that he received any income or had any connection with the antivirus software company bearing his name during those years.

The indictment does not specify the amount McAfee owes.

If convicted, McAfee faces a prison sentence of up to five years on each count of tax evasion and up to one year for each count of willful failure to file a tax return. According to the indictment, the software creator also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and at least $350,000 in monetary penalties.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also brought civil charges against McAfee, alleging that from at least November 2017 through February 2018, he made over $23.1 million in undisclosed compensation from recommending seven cryptocurrency offerings on Twitter that were materially false and misleading.

“McAfee leveraged his fame to make more than $23.1 million in undisclosed compensation” by recommending at least seven initial coin offerings or ICOs to his Twitter followers, the SEC said.

The agency is attempting to fine McAfee, and wants to prohibit him from serving as an officer or director of any company that reports to the SEC.

Reuters contributed to this report.