A new version of decades-old Russian ponzi scheme MMM Global is appearing in Kenya. It promises investors 100% returns and “changing the world” after investing.
Also read: Chinese Gov’t Warns Against ‘Transparent’ Ponzi Scheme MMM Global
Serial Fraudster Mavrodi Targets Kenya
MMM, which stands for Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox, originated in Russia in the mid 1990s. Its founder, Sergey Mavrodi, was convicted of defrauding Russian MMM investors of $4.3 million in 2003. However he has since resurfaced after serving his four-and-a-half year custodial sentence.
“We can do a lot together,” reads the investor summons on MMM Kenya’s Facebook page, which proclaims returns of 40% per month.
Mavrodi had already set up operations in other African nations including Nigeria and South Africa, where MMM is under criminal investigation.
“These people always come with very interesting propositions,” Central Bank of Nigeria representative Isaac Okoroafor told UK newspaper The Independent in September. “These are fraudsters who are just out there to collect people’s money and run away as soon as they hit their target.”
MMM Global: Remind You of Something?
The process is reminiscient of other well-known ponzi schemes such as OneCoin’s global offensive. MMM works by inviting investors to sign up, pledge cash and receive 100%+ returns later on.
MMM focuses on “charity” — as Mavrodi puts it. “In MMM there are no lenders and no debtors. Everything is simple: One participant asks for help and another one helps.”
Payouts, if they exist, happen through an inexplicable mixture of Bitcoin and so-called “mavrodis”. However it’s unclear how anyone can legitimately exchange mavrodi tokens for real money.
Naturally, the pyramid-style scheme has already ‘collapsed’ in many markets. This is due to the predictable situation where more members require “help” than those signed up by MMM’s so-called “guiders” and pledging cash.
It is worth noting that a previous incarnation of MMM, Republic of Bitcoin, shut down earlier this year. Nonetheless, its page on Russian social media site VKontakte continues to be regularly updated and describes the scheme as a “school of management.”
More Warnings for OneCoin Too
OneCoin meanwhile continues its rampage, albeit against Bitcoin rather than using it for fraudulent purposes. October saw the token’s “supply” double to 2 billion. OneCoin described the event in a press release as making “the biggest cryptocurrency in terms of number of users and market capitalization.”
However, this market capitalization remains absent from any listings or independent resources.
Further countries have issued warnings on the scheme, most recently the UK, which joined Belgium in stating OneCoin poses “risks” to consumers. The Bitcoin community has also come out in opposition.
What do you think about MMM Global? What is an appropriate reaction to bad actors using Bitcoin to fraudulent ends? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images via Shutterstock, MMM
If you’d like more information about financial scams affecting cryptocurrency, see our Scam Avoidance Guide. You can also ask questions on the Bitcoin.com Forum.