Memphis, Tennessee — Antivirus software entrepreneur
A June indictment charging McAfee with tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns was unsealed in federal court in Memphis on Monday after McAfee’s arrest in Spain, where extradition to the U.S. is pending, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release.
Online court records do not show whether McAfee has a lawyer to speak on his behalf about the charges.
McAfee developed early internet security software and has been sought by authorities in the U.S. and Belize in the past.
The indictment said McAfee failed to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018, despite receiving “considerable income” from several sources. The indictment does not allege that McAfee received any income or had any connection with the antivirus software company bearing his name during those years, prosecutors said.
McAfee evaded taxes by directing his income to be paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of others, the indictment said. McAfee hid assets from the Internal Revenue Service, including real estate property, a vehicle and a yacht, in the names of others, prosecutors said.
If convicted of all charges, McAfee could face up to 30 years in prison.
McAfee was released from detention in the Dominican Republic in July 2019 after he and five others were suspected of traveling on a yacht carrying high-caliber
John McAfee, the controversial software entrepreneur, has been arrested in Spain on US charges that he evaded taxes on millions of dollars he earned from activities such as touting cryptocurrencies.
The US Department of Justice announced the criminal charges on Monday and said the extradition of Mr McAfee from Spain was pending. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed parallel civil charges.
Mr McAfee, who founded the antivirus software company that bears his name, hid millions of dollars of income from US tax authorities — including from promoting cryptocurrencies and selling the rights to his life story, according to the justice department.
He used bank and cryptocurrency accounts in the names of others to hide income earned between 2014 and 2018, prosecutors alleged. Assets he bought, including a yacht, were similarly held in the names of nominees to evade paying taxes, according to the criminal indictment.
Mr McAfee was a highly successful software innovator a decade ago when he sold McAfee to Intel for $7.6bn. But he went on the run after the 2012 murder of his neighbour in Belize.
He fled to neighbouring Guatemala and was later deported to the US. Mr McAfee was ultimately never charged in connection with the Belize case.
In 2019, Mr McAfee said he had fled the US on his yacht because he was facing criminal tax charges. In an interview with Agence France-Presse in Cuba in July that year, he said: “I have not paid taxes for eight years. I will not pay taxes again — it is unconstitutional and illegal.”
The justice department said on Monday that he had failed to file five years of tax returns between 2014 and 2018. The indictment against Mr McAfee had been filed in June but had remained under seal until his arrest.
The civil charges filed