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‘Not guilty,’ pleads McAfee’s bodyguard to charges of involvement in $13M crypto-scams

Shubham Pandey

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Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., former Navy Seal and bodyguard to John McAfee, the founder of the popular Anti-virus software company, has denied all accusations of involvement in a set of crypto-scams that reportedly cost investors up to $13 million.

The U.S Department of Justice and the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission have accused John McAfee and his bodyguard of a scheme to exploit McAfee’s huge Twitter following to openly promote cryptocurrency offerings and digital tokens that were later sold once the price skyrocketed due to intense promotions via so-called pump-and-dump schemes.

Here, it’s worth noting that Watson once also served as an executive advisor to the “McAfee team,” a website pushing out McAfee-endorsed crypto-tips.

One of the most promoted cryptos was Docademic, followed by Burstcoin, with McAfee alleged to have charged as much as $105,000 per promotional tweet. Other crypto-assets such as Verge, Reddcoin, and Dogecoin have also reportedly been part of tweets labeled “Coin of the day” or “Coin of the week,” spanning from December 2017 to February 2018.

As per the U.S SEC, McAfee also concealed over $23.1 million which he made for the promotional tweets of seven cryptocurrency offerings.

McAfee, at the moment, is being held in Spain on charges of tax evasion. In fact, U.S authorities are actively working on the extradition process, with the entrepreneur expected to face multiple charges including the promotion of crypto-based offerings and the failure to submit tax returns from 2014-2018.

According to Manhattan-based U.S Attorney Andrew Strauss,

“The duo allegedly used McAfee’s Twitter account to publish messages to hundreds of thousands of his Twitter followers touting various cryptocurrencies through false and misleading statements to conceal their true, self-interested motives.”

Watson was arrested on 04 March in Texas, following which he pled not guilty to the charges read to him. According to his attorney Arnold Spencer, as a decorated veteran and a former Navy seal, Watson has always fought for other citizens’ rights and liberties. Watson is now looking forward to exercising some of those very rights in the court, Spencer added.


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Shubham is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. A graduate in Accounting and Finance, Shubham's writings mainly focus on crypto-regulations across the United States and Europe.

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