British-born U.S. technology entrepreneur John McAfee died on Wednesday by suicide in a Barcelona prison after the Spanish high court authorised his extradition to the United States on tax evasion charges, his lawyer told Reuters.
McAfee’s lawyer, Javier Villalba, said the anti-virus software pioneer died by hanging as his nine months in prison brought him to despair.
In October 2020, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Monday against John David McAfee, creator of the eponymous anti-virus software, over charges that he evaded taxes and willfully failed to file tax returns.
The U.S. Justice Department announced the charges shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed it had brought civil charges against McAfee, alleging that he made over $23.1 million in undisclosed compensation from recommending seven cryptocurrency offerings on Twitter that were materially false and misleading.
The indictment, filed under seal in June, was unsealed following his arrest in Spain where the United States is seeking to extradite him.
He is alleged to have earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, as well as through consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary. Despite this income, the Justice Department said he failed to file any tax returns from 2014 to 2018.
The SEC has alleged that from at least November 2017 through February 2018, McAfee recommended cryptocurrencies he was paid to promote, while falsely denying such payments.
“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.