CFTC ends case against the deceased McAfee's pump-and-dump schemes by fining former bodyguard

Quick Take

  • The CFTC announced a final settlement against the deceased John McAfee’s former bodyguard and assistant.
  • The CFTC’s settlement comes days after the SEC won a similar claim.

The US civil cases against the elusive and now deceased John McAfee have come to an end.

On July 18, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced a settlement and injunction against Jimmy Gale Watson. A former Navy Seal, Watson was McAfee's bodyguard from 2017 before becoming the executive adviser of the former cybersecurity mogul's cryptocurrency team.

The CFTC found he helped McAfee promote initial coin offerings of dubious tokens in exchange for undisclosed rewards in those tokens. The pair would then sell those holdings upon the public ICO, "dumping" their tokens onto unwitting retail investors. 

The ultimate disgorgement against Watson was only $146,000. The commission further barred Watson from trading in commodities going forward. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced a similar, parallel settlement and ban on Watson's work in securities. Watson still faces criminal charges from the Justice Department, but those charges have stalled since their initial unsealing in March 2021. McAfee himself was arrested in Spain the previous October, but when the US won the right to extradite him, the 75-year-old reportedly committed suicide


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About Author

Kollen Post is a senior reporter at The Block, covering all things policy and geopolitics from Washington, DC. That includes legislation and regulation, securities law and money laundering, cyber warfare, corruption, CBDCs, and blockchain’s role in the developing world. He speaks Russian and Arabic. You can send him leads at [email protected]