John McAfee
Source: Getty Images

John McAfee Lost Much of His Multi-Million Dollar Fortune Before His Death

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Jun. 24 2021, Published 9:48 a.m. ET

The world may be a very different place without John McAfee's antivirus software. The software mogul was recently found dead in his jail cell in Barcelona, and Spanish authorities suggest that all indications point toward death by suicide. John was best known for founding McAfee Associates in 1987 and helping to usher in the future of software. John's huge technological legacy is hampered somewhat by legal problems, which plagued the mogul for decades following his initial success.

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What was John McAfee's net worth?

Given his enormous success in the field of software, it's fair to say that John's net worth was quite large at one point. By the time of his death, though, John was worth just $4 million. John's net worth diminished so substantially in part because of bad investments he made. The tech entrepreneur walked away from the company he had helped create in 1994, just seven years after he founded it.

john mcafee net worth
Source: Getty Images
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At the time, he sold his shares and took a $100 million payout, which seemed substantial. As it turns out, though, John's shares would have been much more if he'd stayed another decade or so. When Intel purchased the company in 2008, it was sold for $7.7 billion.

Although John could have held out for more money, his $100 million should have left him set for life, and he was until the 2008 financial crisis.

Following the recession, John lost much of his property thanks to some poorly placed investments, and his net worth ultimately dwindled to just $4 million. The founder even sold his Colorado home for less than $6 million, a fraction of the $25 million it was reportedly worth.

Ultimately, John fleed the US following legal issues, going first to Guatemala and then eventually on to Spain, where he was arrested.

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Why was John McAfee in jail?

John was in jail on charges of tax evasion from the US government. Prosecutors in Tennessee had filed the charge after John allegedly failed to report income he made while promoting cryptocurrencies as a consultant, as well as income from speaking engagements and from selling his life rights to filmmakers who were making a documentary about him.

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John was also facing civil charges from the US Securities and Exchanges Commission which could have left him with a 30 year sentence if he was convicted. The news of John's death came following reports that the Spanish National Court had agreed to extradite him to the US so that he could be tried for tax evasion.

John went into exile rather than face legal consequences.

Ultimately, John made the decision to leave the country rather than face any legal ramifications for failing to pay taxes. Following the news of his death, it's up to the public to untangle his complicated legacy, and the ways in which his foundational work on software is complicated by the alleged criminal activity that took up the latter part of his life. Because he'll never face trial, it will be up to historians to assess his guilt.

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