Every time you use McAfee Antivirus, you might think that some of that money goes to John McAfee, the brilliant programmer who invented the software. Nothing could be further from the truth. The story of John and his wealth is one of the most tumultuous and intriguing we've ever encountered. As infamous people go, McAfee is definitely in our top twenty scandalous stories of the twenty-first century. Though he was once worth over a hundred million dollars, John lives a modest life and has around four million today. So, why is John McAfee only worth $4 Million today? We had to know, so we checked into this fascinating man's history.
Note- This story is truly one of the strangest we've ever reported. Verifying facts about someone who is simultaneously reported to live in a tin covered hideout in Lithuania, somewhere in Canada, and Tennessee is nearly impossible. We're not sure what to think of all of this. John, if you're out there, reading this, we'd be happy to talk if you want to set the record straight. You don't have to be a great hacker to contact our writer, who would gladly do a story from your perspective. Pardon the incredulity, but the story as we know it is just weird.
Where to Start
The truly bizarre story of John McAfee is so convoluted it's hard to know where to begin. To understand where his money came from and went we'll walk you through some highlights of his early life and personal life. To understand John himself, you probably have to be John McAfee. We didn't find any info on his childhood and early years. He was born September 18, 1945, in Cinderford, Forest of Dean Gloucestershire UK, to an English mother and an American military father. After that, he was raised in Salem, Virginia. His father is listed on Wikipedia (not a very reliable source) as "an abusive alcoholic" who committed suicide when John was 15.. He went on to major in mathematics at Roanoke College, where he graduated in 1967. In 1987 he founded McAfee and Associates, which he ran until 1994 when he resigned. He sold his shares in the company, and as a result, when Intel bought the company for a considerable sum, John didn't get a piece of the pie.
He was married once to a student he was caught dating. She divorced him in the 80s, but we found no further information, not even her name. Later he married Judy McAfee, and the couple divorced in 2002. We're not sure if she received any substantial portion of his money during the divorce proceeding. If so, that would have decreased his net worth. After that, things start to get really strange in his personal life. Despite surviving the 2008 market crashes intact with a fraction of the original $100 million he'd had previously and starting numerous businesses, John doesn't have much these days. McAfee is famous for believing that taxes are illegal. Hence he refuses to pay them. The millionaire moved to Belize, where he kept his wealth and a massive collection of art.
After he moved to Belize, he was dating Jeniffer Irwin, but she dumped him for dating several locals at the same time. He also lived with several women, including Samantha Vanegas and Amy Emshwiller. When he fled Belize, it was because police wanted him in connection with the shooting death of neighbor Gregory Faull. He took Samantha Vanegas with him, but at some point, the couple split up. It seems likely this was a result of his deportation to Miami since she is a Belizan citizen.
Please take this next bit with a grain of salt since it was reported by The Sun, a known tabloid. However, John has made the tabloids so often for his escapades we have to assume some kernel of truth is in the wild tales. According to The Sun, John did an interview from a "Tinfoil covered hideout" somewhere in Lithuania. He and his current wife, Janice, have reportedly been on the run for most of the last seven years. When they met, she was a prostitute who apparently passed information about him to drug cartels.
Second Note- We don't like to use questionable information sources; however, John McAfee is a strange information source. He has claimed he has forty-seven biological children, and drug cartels want to 'get him,' plus other bizarre facts. This leads us to believe that when Prime Minister Dean Barrow labeled him extraordinarily paranoid and "even bonkers," that it's a possibility. However, we also admit that sometimes the truth is stranger than anything we, or tabloids, could make up. It's also possible that what he says is real, and the only ones he could get to listen are the tabloids. We won't pass judgment, just report what we know.
What Happened to the Money?
By our best guess, based on what we know, most of John's money made it as far as Belize. He invested a lot of it into art, which he presumably displayed at his home. In 2014 CNN reported that he was living in Canada and had lost everything. After fleeing Belize, he was arrested in Guatemala. He apparently entered the country illegally seeking asylum, which was later denied. At the time he was arrested in 2012, Guatemalan authorities weren't sure which country to deport him to because there was no international warrant for his arrest.
If Belize tried to extradite from Guatemala or Miami, they failed to do so. What they did succeed at was raiding his 'jungle compound' and ceasing whatever assets they found there. Some stories say it was a meth lab, or at least suspected of being a meth lab. We can't verify them. McAfee claims that his assets were auctioned, but his art collection was missing. Furthermore, it's more than a little odd that his home in Belize burned to the ground under 'mysterious circumstances' shortly after the raid.
You Can Always Make More Money
It appears that most or all of John's current net worth comes from his ventures after 2012. One thing remains constant no matter where he lives or what happens; he is a brilliant programmer. After 2012 he has continued his entrepreneurial ventures. In 2013, he uploaded a mocking video to his Youtube channel about how to uninstall McAfee Antivirus. It was intended as a commentary on how the media covers his life, and it went viral.
After the hilarious viral video, John founded Future Tense Central, which became an incubator that provides services to other businesses. The company also went to work on D-Central, a secure computer network device. In 2014 he announced a smartphone app then called Cognizant but later renamed DCentral 1, which displays information about the permissions of other installed applications. He released it for free on Google Play.
In 2016 John became MGT Capital Investments CEO but stepped down in 2017 to become the Chief Cybersecurity Visionary. During his time there, he helped move the company into bitcoin mining. Then in 2018, he left the company to become CEO of Luxicore, a company that creates enterprise solutions. We have to assume most of his current net worth comes from these jobs and the documentary Gringo: The Life of John McAfee.
We're pretty much speechless at this point. If there's anything left to be said about the whole story of John McAfee's life and wealth, then we'll have to ask John himself about it. John McAfee made his money with his brilliant mind, more than once. He lost it because of some weird behavior and problems with governments and drug cartels. John is the strangest and most interesting person we've ever done a Net Worth article about. Perhaps the most unusual story we've ever written about anyone. Let us know what you think really happened in the comments below.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee