Ponzi Scheme: How MMM was discredited in South Africa, Zimbabwe, but now deceives Nigerians to invest

Ponzi Scheme: How MMM was discredited in South Africa, Zimbabwe, but now deceives Nigerians to invest

Thursday, September 29, 2016 8:15 am


 The founder of the MMM financial pyramid scheme Sergey Mavrodi, holding a copy of his banned book ‘Temptation’ in Moscow in May 2008. Mavrodi’s schemes stole life savings from more than a million Russians in the early 1990s AFP/Getty


The founder of the MMM financial pyramid scheme Sergey Mavrodi, holding a copy of his banned book ‘Temptation’ in Moscow in May 2008. Mavrodi’s schemes stole life savings from more than a million Russians in the early 1990s AFP/Getty

Thousands of investors are feared to have lost their money after a pyramid scheme run by a convicted Russian fraudster crashed, somewhat predictably, in Zimbabwe.

MMM Global has, swept across Africa, with branches promising returns on investment of 30 per cent a month in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and some east African states.

It is masterminded by the former Russian politician Sergey Mavrodi, who went on the run when the original MMM – standing for Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox – collapsed in the late 1990s, losing investors an estimated $100m.

On its website, MMM Global unashamedly advertises itself as a scheme whereby new members “assist” older members by paying a fee to join. Older members are allowed to withdraw money after a certain period of time, and receive bonuses for encouraging others to sign up.

Mavrodi himself is reported to have gone into hiding after a separate entity designed to reward investors with the cryptocurrency bitcoin – dubbed the “Republic of Bitcoin” – folded in April this year.

 Not a pyramid: MMM’s website describes the scheme as a circular system where members ‘give help by transferring the money to each other directly’ (Screengrab)


Not a pyramid: MMM’s website describes the scheme as a circular system where members ‘give help by transferring the money to each other directly’ (Screengrab)

And since then, a criminal investigation has been launched into MMM Global’s branch in South Africa, after a probe by the National Consumer Commission “found something” to suggest the scheme was acting illegally.

With Zimbabwe’s traditional financial institutions in jeopardy and the country gripped by an economic crisis, thousands turned to MMM Global as an investment that was avowedly independent of government control.

That’s despite a warning from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that the scheme was fraudulent. RBZ warned members of the public that existing investors were “paid money not from genuine market investment of their funds, but from contributions made by new investors, until a point when the scheme can no longer attract new investors”.

“What it simply means is that the number of people in need of help has outnumbered the number of people joining. Right now we have nowhere to get our money which we invested.”

Despite the cautionary tales of Zimbabwe and South Africa – and indeed the original MMM scheme – a branch is now proving increasingly popular in Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has been forced to step in, warning consumers not to deposit money in any institution that is not insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

The bank’s comms director, Isaac Okoroafor, described MMM Global as “a new Ponzi scheme … that is spreading like wildfire”.

“These people always come with very interesting propositions,” Mr Okoroafor said. “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’s members across Africa continue to defend its legitimacy, publishing screengrabs showing withdrawals as proof the scheme pays out.

In South Africa, where a Ponzi scheme is defined as any investment where the return is 20 per cent higher than the repo rate (currently 7 per cent), an anonymous member told business website Fin24: “MMM honestly tell people how it really works and do not promise people any return on the investments.

“As a donation programme, how is it possible to lose your donation? In MMM people ask each other to help them. It depends on the members themselves to maintain the continuation of the process of the provision of help to each other.”

A number of South African banks have now started shutting down accounts they believe could be linked to MMM, while in Zimbabwe the trusted mobile money transfer company EcoCash has distanced itself from the scheme, saying it is “not liable for any losses arising from the use of EcoCash to engage in illegal activities such as Ponzi schemes”.

Credit: The Independent of UK.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/mmm-global-russian-ponzi-scheme-from-1990s-reborn-and-now-spreading-like-wildfire-in-africa-a7333366.html

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34 Comments

  • chinaza says:

    JOIN ILLUMINATI NOW CALL /WHATSAPP +2347016771691

  • Emmanuel says:

    Lol…MMM closed up or is about to be closed up is due to poor or lack of money circulation…Not some cheap shit you say, published by “media”for it has always been published,it didn’t start now…Nigerians note that those waiting for the site to resume full activities are those seeking to GH not this Ph’ing. I wonder who’s gonna pay y’all GH?…As the site describes MMM runs on money circulation,so what happens if money stops circulating (SHUT DOWN)… I participated also and I’ve decided not to wait but to look for good means in recovering what I’ve lost and I imply Nigerians caught up by the scheme to do the same..

  • daniel says:

    well to some extend our lives in Nigeria are more of ponzi scheme for example you went to school in your first year you paid less school fees before graduation the school fees increases ponzi, when you graduate after spending millions in school, you end up not getting job ponzi, you sleep and woke to hear that the pump price of fuel has increased ponzi, you went to market to buy what you bought yesterday with some certain amount of money only to realise that the price has gone up ponzi in all, our lives in more of ponzi than reality i rest my case.

  • Ayo says:

    Hello John.kindly add mi up on ur whatsapp…08030995151. Wish to chat u up

  • tafadzwa lesley says:

    actve how wen our zimbabwean mavros wer frozen by mmm theves

  • john says:

    Anybody that says, mmm is a scam are full of ignorance and selfishness. mmm Zimbabwe and mmm south Africa is very much active, all this news the media spread are just lies to impose fear in Nigerians. Am a Nigerian and I live in south Africa, mmm south Africa is very active and am a participant

  • Timothy says:

    You are right 100% correct, Chief Awolowo says a fool is he who think he knows and knows not that he knows not. I called my frd in south Africa MMM is not down, MMM still strong in Zimbabwe, they sold Burhari to them, that put the country in mess now in 2018, they will sell Still to them and 2019.They will buy, Nigerians have been scammed. MMM is working, it has spent 4years in south Africa if Nigeria economy was bigger before it was truncated by buarhi, note that MMM will spend 6yrs and going strong, An analyst write that if no new member join MMM now just old member, MMM Nigeria money would pay everyone for eight years figures are up, heresy and bad publicity won’t even shake MMM. Long live MMM

  • solomon lilpep says:

    @tayokarate:disqus the waiting period is usually about two weeks (12-15 days) not 30 days. Secondly, one cannot GH if you have not PH. So u give help before you get it. The help does not come from one participant. If you are to receive 100k fro example, the system can match you with 2 people or with 10 people to pay you that money depending on the queue on the system at the time. The main threat to MMM is not stress on the system but negative propaganda which is currently been fueled by the government and financial institutions. MMM has no common pool where you pay money to their account. They merely provide a technical platform for striving Nigerians to help eachother. I think the Government should provide better opportunities instead of sabotaging one that works.

  • shakira says:

    big up dear. quick money let them suffer us we are enjoying hard earned money

  • Rankyn says:

    Seen your propaganda posts against MMM in several forum, who is paying you for all these? Why not take your campaign to myriads of money-bet schemes around and leave MMM participants alone. We know the risk and we chose to take it…with our spare money. So what’s your beef?

  • Akinov Akinseye says:

    your words are false

  • Chido says:

    I love uer comment bro I just received 140k after providing help of 100k the system will work well if the media will just SHUT THE FUCK UP

  • Truth says:

    MMM@9ja#419 and tayokarate let me clear your ignorance. I am an active member of MMM and I have had no regrets. The account u just spoke on of a person whose account was just created and Provided help and was matched within 5days is False as I have many people who I registered and provided help including me and I have not been matched! This is simply because people who want to Provide Help are Simply more than People who want to Get Help which is very healthy for the system. There would be only problems if people don’t Provide Help anymore and only seek to Get Help which can only happen when a Panic is created just like this News and that’s simply what the author or publishers had in mind and not inform anyone… I have Provided Help once (although I haven’t Paid in cos I haven’t been matched) and in between I have made over 10K. What do you say about that?

    About the 30% check and read about Bitcon and, that is where MMM generates it’s Money and give people back a token which is better than what Banks would give you… Banks are actually stealing from people cos they take your money, make Millions from it, and give 0.3%-3% interest of your money, isn’t that Stealing?
    Long Live MMM, God Bless MMM

  • tayokarate . says:

    The recession is actually the driving force,many people don’t even have a choice

  • tayokarate . says:

    The truth is it will fail and the signs are slowly showing, an account of a person just doing his first PH was matched to pay within 5days instead of the usual 30 day wait ;the account had not even reached the frozen limit of 2 weeks.The reason why it will also fail quicker is the guider system that keeps building endless MavRos and taking more than it is putting into the system..If u have made some profit , start putting only your profits from now on as the system is getting frantic and wants to keep your money away from your pocket for longer than it used to be..Also how do we know that there are no accounts that are PHING daily without GHING.Just a daily GH of 1million without PH will be 30 million in a month.

  • tayokarate . says:

    Akinov the truth is it will fail and the signs are slowly showing, an account of a person just doing his first PH was matched to pay within 5days instead of the usual 30 day wait ;the account had not even reached the frozen limit of 2 weeks.The reason why it will also fail quicker is the guider system that keeps building endless MavRos and taking more than it is putting into the system..If u have made some profit , start putting only your profits from now on as the system is getting frantic and wants to keep your money away from your pocket for longer than it used to be..Also how do we know that there are no accounts that are PHING daily without GHING.Just a daily GH of 1million without PH will be 30 million in a month.

  • MMM@9ja#419 says:

    You really a true picture of a selfish and griddy Nigerian. How could you be so confident in supporting this idea MMM when you don’t have any knowledge of how and where that 30% is generated ? If they money should come from new investors what will now happen if all Naija is in MMM where the eextra 30% will come from ? MMM is a nonsense idea made to Abuse other while some will be making money. If legal organizations have raised the alert of its fraudulent character, people should be enlighted by now.

  • Kings says:

    MMM ZIMBABWE DIDN’T FAIL, IT IS UP AND RUNNING. ENLIGHTEN YOURSELF ABEG. YOU PEOPLE SPEW TOO MUCH IGNORANCE. THAT IS HOW THEY SOLD BUHARI TO YOU, THEY WILL STILL PROPOSE ANOTHER MESSIAH IN 2019 AND YOU WILL STILL BUY. YOU THINK YOU KNOW A LOT BUT KNOW NOTHING.

  • Kings says:

    And what have you done for Africans than to impoverish them? what better option do you offer.. leave the scam for us, it paying hospital bills, school fees, puting food on our tables. If mmm is a scam, please i want to be a scammer, call me a scammer please. thanks

  • Kings says:

    Obviously you are the one deluded, like the saying those who think they know when they don’t are the real fools. Do you even know the meaning of scam? Please go invest in a more legit business with your money, leave us with our ”scam”

  • Kings says:

    Only non participants complain about this scheme, why not try it? IF YOU UNDERSTAND AND IMBIBE MMM IDEOLOGY, THERE IS NO WAY YOU WOULD LOSE EVEN IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO MMM. SO I DO NOT GET WHY YOU PEOPLE KEEP CALLING IT A SCAM. THE SITE WARNS EVERY PARTICIPANTS, ONLY THE GREEDY WILL LOSE IF MMM STOPS WHICH I DON’T SEE HAPPENING SOON. WHO GOVT EPP? WHO SEC EPP? WHO BANKS EPP? ABEG LEAVE US LET US HELP EACH OTHER IF YOU CAN’T HELP US, OR IS IT YA MONEY? MMM HAS HELPED ME IN PAYING OFF DEBTS, WITHIN ONLY TWO MONTHS OF BEING IN MMM I HAVE MADE THREE TIMES THE AMOUNT I STARTED WITH, EVEN IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TODAY I WON’T LOSE ANYTHING. OUR WHOLE EXISTENCE AS A COUNTRY NIGERIA HAS BEEN A SCAM LETS NOT GO INTO THAT. YOU PEOPLE SUCK JOR, USING MMM MONEY TO PROCESS MY VISA NOW.

  • Akinov Akinseye says:

    and who has swallowed whos money now……. people keep spreading false information online. in a country where the government do not pay salaries for many months people should help each other . leave them to seek the help they need .

  • Akinov Akinseye says:

    DID MMM ZIMBABWE COLLAPSED?
    I will do my best to explain what really happened in MMM Zimbabwe in order to calm panics in the mind of misinformed MMM participants in 9ja. The press knows next to nothing on this matter.
    MMM Zimbabwe offers 100% mavro growth in 30days. This was implemented to attract participants due to the economic hardship in the country. This mavro growth for those of us in business is called market penetration. Again their mavro was never frozen just like ours in Nigeria which multiplies for 15 days and also freezes for that long before withdrawal.
    What happened in Zimbabwe is an implementation of what is already going on in Nigeria. MMM has seen that they don’t need no market penetration to attract participants. They mavro growth is presently reduced from 100% to 20%. 10% below what we are getting in Nigeria (30%) for sustainability. And the mavro is also frozen for 14days just as its been done in Nigeria. The Nigerian Model works perfectly fine and MMM is trying to implement it globally. So there is no collapse of any structure, its just a remodelling of what is already in place in Nigeria.
    Again this is what happened in south African in April. They reduced their mavro growth from 50% or so to 30% and 20% with other schemes like lotteries introduced. And I can categorically tell you that the South African MMM community is faster and better than ever after that change and reduction in mavro growth.
    Some other points to note is: The writer of that piece, has absolutely no knowledge of how MMM works, and the main aim of it is to cause panic. Zimbabwe MMM is still going on even with the 80% decrease in mavro growth. Did anyone lose their money? NO. What happened is when u pledge 10k, instead of getting 20k reward in 30days, which is 100% reward, u get 12k which is 20% reward. They are still rewarded with 2k. In Nigeria we get 3k reward for 10k pledge. So did anyone lose their money? Absolutely not. Has it stopped MMM Zimbabwe from continuing? Not at all.
    The Nigerian Model of MMM Works perfectly so let’s keep it going?
    Continue to PH GH PH GH PH GH
    That’s the only way the system can be sustained

  • omoyooba says:

    you are a lost cause.

  • omoyooba says:

    your name should be moronoo not badoo. Is it when the trap snap and swallow their money that their lives will be better?

  • omoyooba says:

    your grammar is atrocious. You are either one of the crooks perpetrating this scam or a deluded human being who put his hope on a fraudulent scheme. I am sorry for you.

    Bamidele, didirin nie.

  • Ishiaki says:

    Well, I welcomed your views and opinions about MMM – its reality and its being a scam. Going by testimonies of people who have benefited from the “scam”, it is to me, very obvious that the scheme is real. Also, I noticed that the money to be “scammed” is not lodged or deposited in any special bank account where the fraudster(s) would be able to access it.

    As one of the commentators rightly said, the rich does not want the poor to get close to him by any means. I likened this to what the Big Pharma used in discrediting the natural health practitioners in order for them to rake in big dollars from their products. They won’t tell you the side effect of their drugs, but keep producing and marketing their products. They also go the extent of lobbying and financing for legislation (laws) that would favour them.

    Although, I’m yet to register in the MMM programme, but would appreciate more comments on the reality or otherwise of the programme to convince me.

    Thanks and regards.

  • bamidele says:

    hi,
    Am here to point light to claim that mmm nigeria is a scam which is a very big lies my people.
    mmm in Zimbabwe and south africa still working very well and many participant is join everyday.
    this is a fight between riches and poor, rich people is angry that poor want to come out of slavery farm they put poor people,they are find false claim to draw MMM DOWN because they dont want poor people to be free of slavery.
    lets fight this war together my people, when we are hungry we dont see any SEC OR GOVERNMENT TO CARE FOR US ,NO WORK FOR GRADUATE, everything is increasing in normal market,Rice price is as high as #1000 per rubber now,normal people can not afford to fuel to there motor again.
    mmm is putting END to all this now, mmm is the only solution to Nigeria CITIZEN problem now during this hard economy.
    LET JOIN HAND TOGETHER AND MAKE MMM STAY IN NIGERIA!!!!!!

  • Badoo says:

    FOOL!!! Do you have a better way of making life better for people, if you don’t, don’t ever open your mouth to say rubbish

  • […] Ponzi Scheme: How MMM was discredited in South Africa, Zimbabwe, but now deceives Nigerians to inves… […]

  • John says:

    Peolple in Nigeria are so desperate, the don’t understand histroy, failed in russia, failed in south africa, failed in zimbabwe and just by the corner in nigeria, coming soon. You will see ur balance and will wait till thy kingdom come before u withdraw, a word is enough for d wise.

  • ADEOLA says:

    Do 419ers repeat their evil act in the same place with the same name?

    Mmm has come to stay and there is nothing the rich can do about it even they give u a million naira
    Mmm determine the direction of money in this age
    And the rich feels threatened that their slaves are escaping ( the poor) are getting freedom
    If mmm is scam then it’s the best scam anyone can
    Join
    Mmm is a gate to financial freedom testimonies abounds everywhere
    Reach me on whatapp 08053306433 for more guidance but if you want to remain poor and remain the then let yourself to be decived by this trash they write here.

  • ADEOLA says:

    Hungry man

  • It is very sad to see so many people in Africa falling for a scam that has already collapsed.

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