The founder of the McAfee antivirus software company took his own life in a Spanish prison cell as he was waiting to be extradited to the United States for tax evasion.
Spanish police reported that tech entrepreneur John McAfee was found dead in his jail cell at Barcelona’s Brians 2 prison, in Sant Esteve de Sesrovires, only hours after Spain agreed to ship him back to the U.S. to stand trial, and “everything points to a suicide.”
McAfee fled the U.S. in 2019 to avoid tax evasion charges stemming from his failure to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018, but was arrested in Spain on October 5, 2020, at the behest of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Allegedly McAfee scammed the government by having his income “paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency accounts in the names of others, while also using the names of others to conceal ownership of property and assets including a yacht.”
The following day, the SEC filed a complaint alleging that McAfee fraudulently promoted several crypto-currencies on Twitter as an impartial investor, but had been paid $23 million to advertise the digital assets.
He then engaged in a pump and dump scheme without disclosing his own holdings, earning $2 million, but costing crypto investors nearly $13 million. He was formally indicted by a Manhattan federal court on March 5, 2021.
McAfee was set to face a 10 count indictment for tax fraud in Tennessee upon his return to the U.S. and was facing five years for each count, but the seventy-five-year-old was found dead in his cell.
The prison’s medical team reportedly tried to resuscitate McAfee, but he was pronounced dead hours after the extradition request was granted. His cause of death is being investigated by local authorities, but they believe “everything indicates that it could be a death by suicide.”