CFTC still in the dark about death of John McAfee

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has no official information regarding the reported death of John D. McAfee, who is accused of digital asset fraud. This becomes clear from a status report filed by the CFTC in the New York Southern District Court on October 14, 2021.

The CFTC understood that McAfee was being detained in a Spanish prison in connection with extradition requests by the U.S. Department of Justice. On April 14, 2021, the CFTC began the process of serving McAfee through the Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (the “Hague Convention”) by requesting assistance from the designated central authority in Spain for Hague Convention requests (the Spanish Ministry of Justice) and transmitting the requisite summons, complaint and other initial case documents in English and in Spanish.

A local Spanish official personally served McAfee on June 1, 2021. McAfee’s answer (or other responsive motion) thus would have been due on June 22, 2021. According to news reports, on the following day June 23, 2021, a Spanish court released an order authorizing McAfee’s extradition, and later that day he was found dead in his jail cell.

The CFTC says that official information regarding the reported death is being sought. The Commission adds that it will provide more information when it becomes available.

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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