MMM founder Mavrodi dies in Moscow hospital (1955-2018)

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Recent update - Russian businessman Sergei Mavrodi, founder of the MMM series of financial pyramid schemes died at age 62, on Monday morning.

Mavrodi, who died in Moscow, March 26th, was taken to a city hospital after he felt weakness and pain in the chest area just before his death, report says. He died of "heart attack."

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.

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.

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/suspended, according to reports by Moskovsky Komsomolets and RBK.