CFTC drags its feet on lawsuit against John McAfee

The lawsuit brought by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against John David McAfee and Jimmy Gale Watson Jr over an alleged digital asset fraud has become quite messy.

According to a status report submitted by the CFTC at the New York Southern District Court on August 13, 2021, the regulator is in the dark about basic matters in this lawsuit, including the reported death of McAfee.

As the CFTC noted previously, according to news reports, McAfee was found dead in his jail cell in Spain in June. Let’s stress that the CFTC is not referring to any official information about the death of McAfee but solely to media reports. The stats update to the Court does not include any explicit confirmation of McAfee’s status.

The CFTC says it is seeking more information, but has not received any notice that service of its complaint was or was not accomplished prior to McAfee’s death.

The regulator now requests that the Court reschedule the status update for October 15, 2021, the same date that co-Defendant Watson’s response to the complaint is due.

The complaint alleges that, from at least in or around December 2017 through at least in or around February 2018, John David McAfee, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., and others engaged in a digital asset “pump and dump” manipulative and deceptive scheme in which they fraudulently recommended to the public to purchase digital assets such as verge, reddcoin, and dogecoin.

This manipulative and deceptive scheme caused harm to market participants who paid inflated prices for the digital assets, the CFTC says.

The complaint alleges that the defendants obtained gains from the manipulative and deceptive scheme involving short-term trading of digital assets such as bitcoin and other digital assets for a profit of in excess of $2 million at then-prevailing bitcoin valuations, to the detriment of individuals who purchased the digital assets at inflated prices, including individuals in the United States.

The CFTC accuses the defendants of engaging in fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act, and Commission Regulations.

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