McAfee on prison life

McAfee on prison life: ‘Like the Hilton without turn down service’

The crypto enthusiast, charged with tax evasion, says he is having a ‘fascinating time’ in Spanish jail—and is sharing his cell with a drug dealer

John McAfee has shared a typically bizarre update from the Spanish prison where he is awaiting extradition to the U.S. on tax evasion charges.

The crypto enthusiast’s wife, Janice, said on Twitter that he was in “good spirits” despite being in detention—and that he had this message for his followers:

“Hello from prison my friends. I am having a fascinating time. Spanish prison is not that bad. We can wear whatever clothes we want. We can smoke and socialize. It’s like the Hilton without turn down service.”

McAfee revealed that his cell mate is an ambassador’s drug dealer, quipping: “I wish I would have known him before.”

But suggesting that prison life might not be as plush as the Hilton, the message ended on less positive terms:

“The prison yard is full of murderers but mostly nice people. I spend most of my time with my back to the wall. I miss you and love you all.”

McAfee also promised to update his followers when he is able to do so.

In a tweet later uploaded to his own account, the privacy coin advocate said that he had made friends with a young man from Senegal who’s “here for stabbing many people.”

“He chants Senegalese songs in the yard and I harmonize with Catholic chants,” McAfee wrote. “This may be the next big thing in music.”

Legal woes mount up

As reported by Modern Consensus, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that McAfee had been arrested on Oct. 5. The charges relate to a now-unsealed indictment that was handed down on June 15.

The privacy coin advocate has been charged with five counts of tax evasion, one each for the years from 2014 to 2018, and five counts of willful failure to file taxes.

If convicted, he could face five years in jail for every count of tax evasion, as well as a $250,000 fine.

“John McAfee earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary,” the DoJ said in a release. “From 2014 to 2018, McAfee allegedly failed to file tax returns, despite receiving considerable income from these sources.”

But McAfee’s legal woes don’t end here. Simultaneously, the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a suit against the 75-year-old—accusing him of touting seven initial coin offerings on Twitter without disclosing that he was being paid to do so.

The SEC has claimed that McAfee leveraged his fame (and a Twitter following of 800,000 people at the time) to make more than $23 million by recommending certain ICOs. “McAfee’s recommendations were materially false and misleading for several reasons,” the commission said.

McAfee’s mess

The crypto enthusiast hasn’t kept a low profile over the years—indeed, he had even launched a presidential “campaign.”

But controversy has long courted McAfee. Back in 2012, he was declared as a “person of interest” in the death of his neighbor, the businessman Gregory Faull. McAfee subsequently snuck out of Belize and into Guatemala to seek political asylum.

McAfee’s past remarks—including to this publication—may not help his case when he faces the music in the U.S.

During an interview in February, he told Modern Consensus: “Don’t want to pay taxes? Use Monero, use a distributed exchange, live a happy life.”

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Connor Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.