The founder of the Russian company that ran one of the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, MMM, Sergey Mavrodi, is dead following a heart attack he suffered.
Russian media report that the founder of the MMM series of financial pyramid schemes, Mavrodi, died in a Moscow hospital at the age of 62.
Mavrodi was taken to a city hospital from a bus stop overnight Monday, March 26, after he felt weakness and pain in the chest area.
“The emergency team has failed to save his life. He died this morning,” the report said.
Sergei Mavrodi created the company “MMM” in 1992. It quickly gained popularity and became the largest financial pyramid in the history of Russia.
The income of the members who joined it was paid out of the contributions of new arrivals, and when the flow of customers ceased to grow, non-payments began.
According to various estimates, the number of victims of MMM has reached 10-15 million people.
In 1994, Mavrodi became a member of the Russian parliament. Then he announced that he was giving up his privileges: salaries and cars. Mavrodi stressed that he became a deputy only for the sake of immunity.
Two years later, before the presidential elections in 1996, he was stripped of his mandate.
In 2007, Mavrodi was sentenced to 4 and half years in prison for defrauding 10,000 investors out of 110 million rubles ($4.3 million). All this time, he left during the preliminary detention while the investigation was conducted.
Mavrodi claimed he is not the beneficiary of the donations and he is not used to flamboyant lifestyle.
His true charges for which he was later convicted of is tax fraud though he claimed that MMM scheme is not a business, but a mutual donation programme of which there is no law against such.
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. Some 15 months later, Mavrodi halted the project.
From 2011 to 2016, Mavrodi launched Ponzi schemes under the MMM brand in India, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria.
In many of those countries, Mavrodi’s operations were subsequently shut down or suspended.
Two years ago, he announced the creation of his own crypto currency – Mavro. In the first month, 33,000 people took part in the project.
MMM stands for the first letters of the founders’ surnames – Sergei Mavrodi, Olga Melnikova and Vyacheslav Mavrodi.