The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is after John McAfee, a well-known crypto advocate, for promoting shilling initial coin offerings (ICO).
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According to a civil complaint, McAfee allegedly made over $23 million for promoting at least seven ICOs to his followers on Twitter. The majority of the ICOs promoted by McAfee "were materially false and misleading for several reasons," the SEC states.
The regulator claims McAfee did not disclose that he was being paid to promote the ICOs. He also falsely stated to be an investor or a technical advisor of the ICO, while in reality his tweets were paid promotions disguised as impartial investment advice.
The regulator adds that Jimmy Watson, who is in the role of the defendant, was not only McAfee’s bodyguard, but also substantially assisted McAfee’s touting and scalping schemes. Moreover, Watson negotiated the partnerships between McAfee and ICO issuers.
In total, McAfee was paid bitcoin (EXANTE: Bitcoin) and ether (ETH) worth more than $11.6 million and an additional $11.5 million worth of promoted tokens.
The SEC wants the US District Court to order McAfee and Watson to "disgorge all ill-gotten gains they received as a result of the violations alleged herein and to pay prejudgment interest" in addition to civil money penalties.
In June 2020, John McAfee announced the launch of Ghost, a distributed exchange that promises its users total anonymity.
The project's native token called Ghost is a privacy-focused proof-of-stake crypto that allows users to carry out anonymous transactions. According to McAfee, Ghost, was planned to replace the distributed exchange McAfeeDEX.
However, in August 2020, McAfee abandoned the project and wrote on Twitter that it will fail "without a doubt" as the project's management was "incapable of making a success." Later he deleted the tweet.
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