Sergey Panteleevich Mavrodi (Russian: Серге́й Пантелеевич Мавроди; born August 11, 1955) is a 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).
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.
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.
- "Sergei Mavrodi Convicted of Fraud in MMM Trial", by Kevin O’Flynn, The St. Petersburg Times.
- "Mavrodi's Internet-Pyramide Commapsed" (Russian)
- "A Scheme With No Off Button" by Catherine Rampell, NY Times
- "Sergey Mavrodi" (Russian)
- Bigg, Claire (March 15, 2012). "Jailed For Not Paying A Fine, Ponzi Scheme Founder Plots 'Financial Apocalypse'". RFE/RL.
- Moscow court sentences pyramid scheme head Mavrodi to 4.5 yrs
- MMM Corporation by Peter Symes
- "Money For Nothing", by Dan Brekke,Wired Magazine, Issue 8.09, Sep 2000
- Appeal of SEC vs. Stock Generation, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- SG Ltd. (Stock Generation Ltd.) et al.
- Securities and Exchange Commission v. SG Limited et al., (United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, No. 00-11141-GAO), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Litigation Release No.. 18181 / June 9, 2003
- Shuster, Simon (January 15, 2011). "Why is Russia's Bernie Madoff Back in Business?". Time Magazine. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Bigg, Claire (March 20, 2012). "Mavrodi's Ponzi comeback seeks financial apocalypse". Asia Times. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- "Fool me twice, shame on me: Russians fall once again for notorious Ponzi scheme". RT. June 2, 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Lobazina, Alina (September 1, 2012). "MMM scheme heads to India". Russia & India Report. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- de Wet, Phillip (11 September 2015). "Rich pickings for Russian con artist". Mail and Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Сергей Мавроди. Искушение. Москва, Р7осмэн, 2008.