Russian businessman Sergei Mavrodi, whose MMM pyramid scheme deprived millions of Russians of their savings in the 1990s, has died of a heart attack, according to Russia media.
Reports said the 62-year-old was rushed to the hospital late on March 25 with pain in his chest and died several hours later.
Mavrodi’s MMM financial pyramid was a typical Ponzi scheme in which earlier investors receive their profits from subsequent investors. Mavrodi promised returns of 20 percent to 75 percent a month, as well as lotteries and bonuses for investors.
In 1994, Mavrodi was elected as a lawmaker, a decision he later said was to ensure he received immunity from prosecution. In 1996, he lost his parliamentary mandate.
In 2007, a Moscow court found him guilty of financial fraud and sentenced him to 4 1/2 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. Some 15 months later, Mavrodi halted the project.
From 2011-16, 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.
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