Antivirus founder John McAfee's net worth had plummeted to just $4 million at the time of his death on Wednesday in a Spanish prison, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which tracks the wealth and finances of the rich and famous.
McAfee, who founded global security software company McAfee in 1987, hanged himself in his prison cell after the Spanish high court authorised his extradition to the US on tax evasion charges, his lawyer, Javier Villalba, told Reuters.
At the height of his wealth, the 75-year-old British born technology entrepreneur was worth more than $100m after he resigned as chief executive of McAfee in 1994 and sold his stock holdings in the business.
But a combination of bad investments, the global financial crisis in 2008-2009 and increasing legal troubles, which saw him go on the run from US authorities for years, caused his net worth to plummet.
“A series of bad investments, including a large bet on Lehman Brothers' bonds, cost McAfee millions and forced him to sell real estate and other assets for pennies on the dollar,” Celebrity Net Worth said.
Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in the 2008 global financial crisis.
“McAfee sold a $25m Colorado estate for just $5.7m. He also sold a mansion in Hawaii, a ranch in New Mexico and a Cessna private jet,” it added.
Just last week, McAfee, who worked for Nasa, Xerox and Lockheed Martin before launching his antivirus software company, tweeted from prison that he had nothing left as the US authorities had seized his assets.
“The US believes I have hidden crypto. I wish I did but it has dissolved through the many hands of Team McAfee (your belief is not required), and my remaining assets are all seized. My friends evaporated through fear of association,” McAfee said on Twitter on June 16.
“I have nothing. Yet I regret nothing,” he added.
McAfee's years on the run came to an end when he was arrested at Barcelona airport on October 3 last year as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, after being indicted on tax evasion charges in Tennessee and charged in a cryptocurrency fraud case in New York, Reuters reported.
"An indictment was unsealed today charging John David McAfee with tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns" Richard E. Zuckerman, the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the US Justice Department's tax division, said in a statement on October 5 last year.
“John McAfee earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary,” he added.
“From 2014 to 2018, McAfee allegedly failed to file tax returns, despite receiving considerable income from these sources.”
McAfee allegedly evaded his tax liability by directing his income to be paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees, while he concealed assets, including property, a vehicle and a yacht in the names of others, according to the indictment.
Despite admitting he'd avoided paying taxes because they were "illegal", McAfee remained defiant, saying in his final tweet on June 18: "In a democracy, power is given not taken. But it is still power. Love, compassion, caring have no use for it. But it is fuel for greed, hostility, jealousy... All power corrupts. Take care which powers you allow a democracy to wield."
McAfee, whose father also died by suicide when he was 15, is survived by his wife, Janice McAfee.