Crazy like a fox? McAfee admits to playing the 'crazy card'

The security software founder, who has arrived back in the U.S. after fleeing Belize for Guatemala, tells ABC News he faked an illness to avoid being deported to Belize.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
John McAfee, pictured yesterday, was released from detention in Guatemala and flew to the U.S. CBS News

The recent actions of security software icon John McAfee may have seemed off kilter, but he now says that at least some of that was a ruse.

McAfee, speaking with ABC News after arriving in the U.S., said he faked illness to avoid being sent back to Belize from Guatemala. He also thanked the media for closely covering his story.

"It was a deception, but who did it hurt? I look pretty healthy, don't I?," he said during an interview with ABC at a Miami Beach hotel. He added:

What's a better story, millionaire mad man on the run. You [the media] saved my ass because you paid attention to the story. As long as you are reporting, it is hard to whack somebody that the world is watching.

The antivirus pioneer, who founded security-software company McAfee, was living in Belize, where police sought him for questioning after neighbor Gregory Faull was discovered shot dead. McAfee allegedly illegally crossed the border into Guatemala in an attempt to seek asylum, but then that country denied his request.

After McAfee received word he would be sent back to Belize, he complained about chest pains and said he had two mild heart attacks -- an incident he now says was fake.

McAfee has publicly stated his innocence in his blog, which he has been updating frequently while on the run and while detained.

During his interview with ABC, McAfee continued to deny any involvement in his neighbor's death and said he's now penniless and has no idea what he'll do next.

McAfee, who is in his 60s, said he left all of his possessions in Belize, including $20 million in investments and about 15 properties. He's now focused on getting his 20-year-old and 17-year-old girlfriends out of Belize, he said.

"I have nothing now," McAfee told ABC. "I've got a pair of clothes and shoes, my friend dropped off some cash."