Sergey Panteleevich Mavrodi (born August 11, 1955) is a convicted Russian criminal and a former deputy of the State Duma. He is the founder of the МММ series of pyramid schemes. In 2007 Sergei Mavrodi was found guilty in a Russian court of defrauding 10,000 investors out of 110 million rubles ($4.3 million or N2.085 billion naira).
In 1989 Sergey founded MMM.
He was then elected to the State Duma, thereby obtaining parliamentary immunity. Mavrodi declared MMM bankrupt on December 22, 1997, then disappeared, and was on the run until his arrest in 2003.
In 1998 Mavrodi created Stock Generation, allegedly a classic pyramid scheme presented as a “virtual stock market game”.
The website ran from 1998 to early 2000. The Massachusetts district court initially found that U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was unable to cite Stock Generation’s founders and owners for securities violations. However, the United States Court of Appeals reversed this decision in 2001, concluding that the SEC alleged sufficient facts to state a triable claim. In 2003 the SEC obtained permanent injunctions against SG Ltd. and relief defendants SG Perfect and SG Trading, which profited from the disbursement of funds fraudulently gained by SG Ltd.
On April 28, 2007, a Moscow court sentenced him to four and a half years in a penal colony. The court also fined him 10,000 rubles ($390).
In January 2011, Mavrodi launched another pyramid scheme called MMM-2011, asking investors to buy so-called Mavro currency units. He frankly described it as a pyramid, adding “It is a naked scheme, nothing more … People interact with each other and give each other money. For no reason!”
Mavrodi said that his goal with MMM-2011 is to destroy the current financial system, which he considers unfair, which would allow something new to take its place. MMM-2011 was able to function openly as Ponzi schemes and financial pyramids are not illegal under Russian law. In May 2012 he froze the operation and announced that there would be no more payouts.
In 2011 he launched a similar scheme in India, called MMM India, again stating clearly that the vehicle is a pyramid. He has also launched MMM in China. He was reported to be trying to expand his operations into Western Europe, Canada, and Latin America.
As of September 2015 it had spread rapidly in South Africa with a claimed 1% per day or 30% per month interest rate scheme and warnings from both the South African and Russian Communist Parties for people not to participate in it.
In early 2016, he continued the same model in Zimbabwe (the accounts were frozen in September 2016), and later, in Nigeria. Accounts of Nigerian participants later got to be frozen on December 13, 2016.
Source: Sergei Mavrodi’s Wikipedia Page.