Founder of the MMM Ponzi scheme, Sergei Mavrodi, has died of a heart attack at the age of 62. The Russian businessman was reportedly rushed to the hospital late on March 25 with pain in his chest and died several hours later.
Mavrodi started the MMM financial pyramid, a Ponzi scheme that deprived millions of Russians their savings in the 1990s. The scheme promised returns of 20 percent to 75 percent a month for investors.
However, as soon as the number of new clients stopped growing, the pyramid collapsed, causing huge financial losses for at least 10 million people, in some cases leaving them destitute.
A Moscow court found Mavrodi guilty of financial fraud in 2007 and sentenced him to 4 1/2 years in a penal colony. He later 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. The project was however halted after a few months. Then, between 2011 and 2016, Mavrodi launched Ponzi schemes under the MMM brand in India, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria.
The operations collapsed in Nigeria in December 2016, causing investors to lose huge sums and this led to the death of at least 1 Nigerian investor who ingested insecticide because the money he invested in the scheme was the savings meant for his wedding.