- Silicon Valley mogul John McAfee butted heads with law enforcement around the globe.
- McAfee was a “person of interest” in the murder of his neighbor in Belize and bragged about avoiding US taxes.
- Spanish news reported that McAfee was found dead in his Spanish prison cell on Wednesday after Spanish authorities granted the US’ extradition request.
John McAfee became a Silicon Valley legend after founding the first commercial computer antivirus software with McAfee Associates in 1987. But the internet mogul’s life took a series of bizarre turns after he resigned from the company in 1994 and sold his remaining shares of the institution for $100 million.
Seventeen years later, the famed iconoclast, 75, was found dead by apparent suicide, his lawyer told Reuters, in his Spanish prison cell on Wednesday, hours after Spanish authorities authorized his extradition back to the United States.
McAfee’s last decade was littered with accusations of fraud, drugs, and even murder.
Troubles in Belize
In 2009, McAfee moved to Belize and began to search for medicinal uses for the plants on his land.
In April 2012, the Gang Suppression Unit of Belize’s police department raided McAfee’s home for weapons and for “blocks of something that he was producing that resembled methamphetamine or cocaine.” He was released without any charges.
Seven months later, McAfee was deemed a person of interest in connection to the murder of his neighbor, Gregory Faull. He left for Guatemala soon after but was arrested by Guatemalan authorities for entering the country illegally and was deported to the United States.
In the piece, McAfee acknowledged his criminal history, admitting he had been “jailed multiple times,” and had “brushes with law both here in American and abroad.”
But his real crime in Belize, he claimed, was refusing to be extorted by the country’s “corrupt” government.
McAfee alleged there was an ongoing government plot to assassinate him due to his successful business ventures in the country and his refusal to partake in bribery. He said he believed he was the intended target in Faull’s murder, and that “the incompetence of the government caused the assassins to enter the wrong house.”
McAfee was later found legally “liable” for Faull’s death by a United States District Judge in Florida in 2015.
A brush with the law caused by ‘pure stupidity’
McAfee was arrested in Tennessee for driving under the influence and possessing a firearm while under the influence in 2015.
“In every case of my brushes with the law, with the exception one — caused by pure stupidity; a DUI — I can attribute to my belief that every one of us possesses the fundamental right to civil disobedience,” McAfee wrote in Business Insider in 2016.
McAfee claimed he ‘hadn’t filed taxes in 8 years’
On January 3, 2019, McAfee tweeted that he “hadn’t filed taxes in 8 years.” Less than one month later, he announced that he was living on a boat and running for president with the Libertarian Party while “in exile.”
As a staunch Libertarian, McAfee vocally opposed taxation, arguing it was illegal and claiming he was a “prime target for the IRS” in a 2019 tweetstorm. He even goaded the agency to come after him, tweeting “Here I am.”
In July 2019, McAfee, who was evading US tax authorities, was arrested on his yacht in the Dominican Republic related to allegations of entering the country with a supply of weapons and ammunition. He was held for four days before being released.
Three months later, on October 5, 2020, McAfee was arrested by Spanish authorities on tax-evasion charges at the behest of the United States. The US Department of Justice said he gained millions by “promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary” and avoided paying taxes using several different schemes.
A US federal court indicted McAfee in March 2021 on conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud and several other fraud counts relating to cryptocurrencies and money laundering.
Spain granted the United States’ extradition request on June 22, 2021. Spanish authorities reported finding McAfee dead in his prison cell just hours after the decision.