Janice McAfee says her husband faces the prospect dying behind bars for allegedly doing what Elon Musk is doing on Twitter “with impunity”.
John McAfee was arrested in Spain several months ago and remains in a prison outside Barcelona awaiting extradition to the US where he is accused of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.
Together with personal bodyguard Jimmy Watson Junior, the 75-year-old faces charges surrounding the promoting of various cryptocurrencies through social media in order to inflate prices before selling them off for £1.45m ($2m).
Prosecutors in New York are citing allegations from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which raised concerns about McAfee’s use of Twitter to promote digital assets to his one million followers.
According to files submitted to the Federal Court in Manhattan, McAfee and Watson are said to have been selling crypto assets once they had been able to inflate their prices. The files allege they also landed some £8m ($11m) from various fledgling cryptocurrency organisations as payments to promote the start-ups.
According to prosecutor Audrey Strauss, they effectively “exploited a widely used social media platform and enthusiasm among investors in the emerging cryptocurrency market to make millions through lies and deception.”
Janice McAfee, however, today singled out Elon Musk for his persistent meddling with cryptocurrency prices through his social media activity.
She added that she wasn’t suggesting the Tesla chief should be jailed, but questioned how her husband faces his final years behind bars accused of doing something similar.
Musk’s tweets have, on several occasions, affected the price of Bitcoin and Dogecoin.
“Elon Musk has moved the crypto markets with his tweets far greater that John McAfee could ever have,” she said.
“John faces the real possibility of dying in prison for allegedly engaging in similar activities.”
Mrs McAfee was also quick to point out that she believes Elon Musk had no crime to answer for.
“I obviously am not saying that Elon Musk should be in prison. That’s ridiculous,” she added.
“I’m simply stating that according to John McAfee’s indictment he has been accused of engaging in similar activity, so since Elon is not in prison for his actions neither should John be.”
READ MORE: John McAfee on life in prison… and Dogecoin
Before being detained in Spain, the McAfees had spent almost two years on the run from authorities aboard their yacht as they flitted between the Caribbean, Mediterranean, London, Estonia and various secret hideaways.
Following the arrest, McAfee slammed the accusations as “overblown” and insisted he was not guilty of any wrongdoing with cryptocurrencies.
“My team evaluated every promotion based on management, business plans and potential,” he said.
“No one could have foreseen the altcoin market crash. We were paid in the same coins that crashed.
“The SEC allegations are overblown.”
Responding to the prosecutors, McAfee insisted he had made no profits through social media promotion and had not sold cryptocurrency on the back of it.
“My belief in the coins I promoted is exemplified by Docademic – the coin I promoted the most,” he argued.
“Even as it crashed I held every single coin allocated to me. I never sold a single coin. I believed in the company to the very end.”
Recently, it was revealed the McAfee’s were close to bankruptcy as they battle lawmakers, racking up huge legal bills in an effort to form a defence against the charges.
“Between the different lawyers fighting John’s case it has virtually bankrupted us,” Mrs McAfee explained.
“We’re running out of resources.”
The veteran programmer hinted earlier this year that it was his early involvement with the joke Dogecoin – a seven-year-old cryptocurrency heavily plugged on twitter and even Saturday Night Live by billionaire Elon Musk – that led to US authorities hunting him down on a string of charges.
McAfee has been instructing lawyers from his cell throughout his imprisonment. But it is unsure how much longer he can continue to fight the charges, given the revelation about the couple’s finances.
“Fighting the US government is the most expensive endeavour John has taken on,” added Janice.
“What justice can be achieved when you’ve been bled dry before your day in court?”