The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has obtained final judgment on an initial coin offering (ICO) that involved John McAfee, the peripatetic software entrepreneur and blockchain advocate. McAfee died in a jail cell in Barcelona after being apprehended on tax evasion accusations. The claims against McAfee were dismissed due to the fact he is deceased.
Meanwhile, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a final consent judgment against Jimmy Gale Watson, Jr., for his role in the alleged McAfee ICO promotion and “scalping scheme.”
The SEC alleged that McAfee, with Watson’s assistance, promoted investments in ICOs to McAfee’s Twitter followers without disclosing that they were paid to do so. Social media promotions of ICOs were rampant during the height of the coin offering rave and the SEC took action against multiple promoters.
The complaint alleged that Watson assisted McAfee by negotiating the promotion deals with the ICO issuers and helping McAfee to benefit financially. McAfee and Watson also allegedly engaged in a separate plot to profit from “a crypto asset security by secretly accumulating a large position in McAfee’s accounts, touting that security on Twitter while intending to sell it, and then selling McAfee’s holdings as the price rose.”
The SEC states that the final judgment against Watson permanently enjoins him from violating Sections 17(a) and (b) and of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 and orders him to pay disgorgement of $316,401.48 and prejudgment interest of $59,533.38.
The final judgment also permanently enjoins him from participating, directly or indirectly, in the issuance, purchase, offer, or sale of any digital asset security, provided, however, that such injunction shall not prevent Watson from purchasing or selling securities for his own personal accounts.