Russian businessman and founder of the MMM pyramid scheme, Sergei Mavrodi has reportedly died of a heart attack. According to Russian media, the 62-year-old was rushed to a hospital late on Sunday after he complained of severe pains in his chest and died several hours later.
Mavrodi’s MMM financial pyramid was a typical Ponzi scheme in which earlier investors received their profits from subsequent investors. Mavrodi promised returns of 20 percent to 75 percent a month, as well as lotteries and bonuses for investors.
As soon as the number of new clients stopped growing, the pyramid collapsed, causing huge financial losses for millions of investors, in some cases leaving them bankrupt.
In 1994, Mavrodi was elected as a lawmaker, a decision he later confessed was to ensure that he received immunity from prosecution.
In 1996, he lost his parliamentary seat and in 2007, following a protracted court case, a Moscow court found him guilty of financial fraud and sentenced him to 41/2 years in a penal colony.
In 2011, Mavrodi launched another pyramid scheme called MMM-2011, calling on investors to purchase so-called Mavro-currency units in a bid to get rid of the ‘unfair’ financial system. Fifteen months later, he halted the project, plunging millions of people into financial agony.
From 2011 to 2016, Mavrodi launched Ponzi schemes under the MMM brand in India, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Expectedly, in many of these countries, Mavrodi’s operations were subsequently shut down or suspended, leaving many to count their losses.