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John McAfee: Anti-virus Software Founder Commits Suicide In Prison

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John David McAfee
John David McAfee

John David McAfee, a British-American computer programmer and businessman who released the ever first commercial anti-virus software. (Photo credit: Reuters)

 

John David McAfee, a British-American computer programmer and businessman who released the ever first commercial anti-virus software that still bears his name till today, has been found dead in a Barcelona prison cell.

Late McAfee who died at the age of 75 was found dead few hours after the Spanish national court approved his extradition to the United States to face charges bordering on tax evasion.

A statement by the Catalan’s regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, confirmed that McAfee died in the Brians 2 prison near Barcelona, late on Wednesday.

According to the statement, prison officers tried to resuscitate him but the efforts yielded no result as he was long dead. It added that although investigations had been launched into his sudden and mysterious death, that all indications suggest that the anti-virus software pioneer committed suicide by hanging.

The statement read, “Judicial staff have been dispatched to the prison and are investigating the causes of death.”

“Everything points to death by suicide.”

ALSO READ: John McAfee: Anti-Virus Software Creator Charged With Cryptocurrency Fraud

Also, his lawyer had told Reuters that the McAfee Associates founder apparently hanged himself after the Spanish newspaper El Mundo also reported his death.

Late McAfee was, in October 2020, arrested at the Barcelona International Airport in Spain when he was about boarding a flight to Istanbul. He was nabbed over charges bordering on his alleged failure to file tax returns for over three years, beginning from 2016, despite earning millions from a retinue of services and ventures such as consulting work, promoting crypto-currencies, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story.

He was also accused by the US Justice Department of allegedly deceiving people to invest in a cheap and weak crypto-currency, then making illegal profit off the innocent investors. He also was accused of converting his income into crypto-currencies and paying his income into crypto-currency accounts and other bank accounts he opened in the names of his nominees. According to the US department, the offences carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

The charges against late McAfee by the US referred to the three fiscal years from 2016 to 2018, according to the Spanish court’s ruling on Wednesday.

“From 2014 to 2018, McAfee allegedly failed to file tax returns, despite receiving considerable income from these sources,” the U.S. Justice Department said in October.

“McAfee Team members collectively earned more than $2 million in illicit profits from their altcoin scalping activities,” the Justice Department said in March.

Also, the 16-page ruling of the Spanish court partly read thus, “The court agrees to grant the extradition of John David McAfee as requested by the American judicial authorities for the crimes referred to in the tax offence indictments for years 2016 to 2018.”

McAfee became a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency world after he claimed that he made a whopping sum of $2,000 a day from the block chain technology that is gradually being accepted as legal tender by world governments.

However, aside the tax-related crimes, several other issues had made McAfee a controversial figure, despite his fame and wealth from being the innovator of the first commercial anti-virus software in the world.

First, he was arrested in 2015 by the US police for being in possession of a gun and driving under the influence of alcohol. Meanwhile, he had been on the US police radar since 2012 after a neighbor of his was found murdered in Belize. The dead neighbour’s family later filed a wrongful death suit against him and he was ordered by a Florida court in 2020 to pay the family of his murdered neighbourgh over $25m.

Later, he was found living with a 17-years old girl and a large cache of weapons were also found in his home in the Central American country. He subsequently fled the country after the discovery was made. Late McAfee was also detained in the Dominican Republic after he and five others were suspected of travelling on a yacht carrying sophisticated weapons, ammunition and military-style gear. He was later released in July of 2019.

However, following the US hunt for him and the subsequent ruling to extradite him to the US, he had on 16th  June, tweeted that he wished he had “hidden crypto”like the US was accusing him of.  He had also tweeted saying, “The US believes I have hidden crypto. I wish I did but it has dissolved through the many hands of Team McAfee (your belief is not required), and my remaining assets are all seized.”

“My friends evaporated through fear of association. I have nothing. Yet, I regret nothing.”

In 2019, late McAfee had hinted on his possible death but alerted that if he was found dead, that it must be murder. He had said in the tweet that he was “getting subtle messages from U.S officials saying, in effect, “‘we’re coming for you McAfee! We’re going to kill yourself. I got a tattoo today just in case. If I suicide myself, I didn’t. I was Whacked. Check my right arm.” On his right arm, he had tattooed a Dollar sign and a slang, “Whackd.”

Also, later on 15th October, 2020, he had hinted about his alleged possible murder when he tweeted again saying, “I am content in here (prison). I have friends. the food is good. All is well. Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine.”

Anthony Chinonso Ogbonna is an editor with Techuncode. He is a seasoned journalist whose stint cuts across broadcast, print and, especially, the online media. A graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Anthony holds a Masters Degree in Multimedia Journalism. He aligns his belief with those of world tech communities, holding tenaciously that the world is solely driven and can only be best with tech. Furthermore, Anthony believes that technology is simple, fun and is not what one, especially Africans, should be scared of, hence, his passion for telling compelling stories about tech in ways relatable to the ordinary user. He has his hobbies in reading and designing (new hobby though.)

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