John McAfee, the pioneer antivirus software creator, was found dead in a prison cell in Barcelona, multiple outlets have reported.
McAfee faced charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleged he made over $23.1 million in undisclosed income from false and misleading cryptocurrency recommendations.
McAfee made his fortune in the ’80s and ’90s through his antivirus software, but told ABC News in 2017 that he had “wasted” much of the money.
The eccentric figure unsuccessfully sought the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2016 and 2020. Neither effort was successful, at least partially on account of being overshadowed by developments in McAfee’s wide-ranging personal life.
FRED DUFOUR via Getty Images John McAfee, founder of the eponymous antivirus company, speaks to journalists at the China Internet Security Conference in Beijing on Aug. 16, 2016.
In 2016, McAfee was dealing with the fallout of an unsolved 2012 murder case in Belize in which he’d been named a “person of interest.” He denied any involvement in the death, telling USA Today in 2015 a Central American hit squad was pursuing him for his criticism of the Belize government.
McAfee fled the Caribbean country by boat for Guatemala, where, after he was arrested for illegally entering the country, he told ABC he faked a heart attack to avoid being extradited back to Belize. The stunt bought his lawyers enough time to file an appeal, and he was eventually deported to the U.S. instead of Belize. McAfee was never arrested or charged in the case.
Upon his return, McAfee immediately began a relationship with Janice Dyson, a former prostitute whom he married in 2013. After a fallout, Dyson left McAfee, only to return after she says she was blackmailed into facilitating a kidnapping plot which she alternately helped and hindered.
“Even though I was cooperating, I was still trying to suggest to him, without telling him, to be careful,” she told Newsweek in 2017. “[But] I would get in the way. A lot of the attempts that happened in our home, I hindered those from happening, blocked them from happening, because I’m in the house too.”
In 2019, he and five others were detained in the Dominican Republic after officials suspected the group of traveling on a yacht “carrying high-caliber weapons, ammunition and military-style gear,” a Dominican official told The Associated Press.
McAfee was arrested in Spain in October 2020 after being indicted on tax evasion charges in the U.S. According to an indictment filed at the time, McAfee failed to file tax returns from 2014 through 2018 and evaded tax liability by funneling millions in income into bank accounts and cryptocurrency held under different names.
“I’m a mad man to some people because I don’t follow the normal rules,” McAfee told ABC News in 2017 ahead of a “20/20” report. “You know, the drummer that leads me is an odd drummer, but I follow the sound.”
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