MMM is a Russian company that perpetrated one of the world’s largest ponzi schemes of all time in 2015. It began operation in South Africa claiming a 30% per month return through a social financial network and in 2016, it launched a website targeting the Nigerian audience and has attracted over 400,000 people to it since it came into the country.
A ponzi scheme according to investopedia, is an investment fraud where clients are promised a large profit at little to no risk. Companies that engage in this scheme focus all their energy into attracting new clients to make investments. This new income is used to pay original investors their returns, marked as a profit from a legitimate transaction.
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Mr.A (generation 1) invests his N100. Mr.B, Mr.C, Mr.D (generation 2) then register after him and are told to pay into Mr. A’s account. Mr. A cashes out, is happy and spreads the word. Messrs E,F,G,H… etc (generation3) then register and are told to pay into Messrs. C, D, and E’s accounts. Generation 2 also cashes out and further spread the news… And so the cycle continues.
In MMM, there are two categories of people: those that “provide help” and those that “get help”. Those that provide help are the new entrants that want to part away with their ‘spare money’ and the “get help” are those already in the system waiting for their money to mature so they can be matched with the new entrants.
The reason the system is still balanced is because those that “get help” (need money) are equal or less than those that “provide help” (new entrants). It will get to a stage at which those that need money (get help) are greater than those that provide money (however, nobody knows when this will happen), then the rate at which money is collected will now be getting slow e.g a transaction that previously required 10 minutes will now take more than 1hour due to MMM looking for who to match you with. This is where something starts getting wrong and some later time, the system crashes.
This is just like a production possibility curve in economics. MMM is currently enjoying an upward increase in its “curve”. Certain things will happen which will make the number of new entrants to start diminishing and thus makes payment to existing ‘shareholders’ to slow down (one of the likely things has been the recent proposed legislative actions against MMM operators in the country).
From the foregoing, it can be seen that MMM is not as bad as being portrayed by the Federal Government, just that it is for the short term and can crash anytime. In its website, it is written “register with your spare money”. Even those that are doing it know it is not for life and the sensible ones are conscious of not getting carried away by it. As far as you are an existing ‘shareholder’ and not the greedy type, I do not think you can lose from it even when the system crashes. Take for instance, you invested N200,000 in it and at the end of the month, you got N260,000. It is something you can take your initial capital (N200,000) from it and invest the #60,000 back into it and be getting your 30% from it at the end of each month, knowing fully well that you have gained back your initial capital even when it crashes.
When the system crashes, 2 sets of people are likely to lose:
- The greedy ones
- Those that were skeptical about it before and later joined it when it is ‘too late’.
Since it is your money, and you alone know what you went through to get it, only you would know how painful it would be to lose it, especially if you did not apply wisdom to it or you let yourself be carried away.
Make no mistake about this, at the moment, MMM pays! And it has been gradually closing the income inequality gap in the country, but you just have to be careful!
In conclusion, I would like to say that MMM is a heavenly opportunity and should be enjoyed while it lasts!
KURANGA ABDULAZEEZ is a 400level economics student of the University of Ilorin. He is a young Nigerian passionate about the harmonization of economics and politics in Nigeria and Africa at large. He is writer on economic issues and a member of campus Leo club igniting the minds of the people through reorientation of values and leadership training.
As the economic recession continues to bite harder, leaving many Nigerians hungry and depressed due to the inability to meet their needs and demands, Nigerians have begun to look for the fastest means to make money and one of the most talked about and viable options for survival, with little or no stress is MMM (Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox).
To validate or vilify this scheme, it will be best to understand what it means for something to be heavenly and what poses to be a scam from hell.
Heavenly simply means something divine or blessed, very pleasant or good. From this definition, the mouthwatering gain is actually considered pleasant to many that get the 30% at the end of the month depending on the amount of money “invested” in it. Can someone who get that kind of benefit see it as a scam? When you get your money back and get returns of 30%, even the bank in four years will not give that kind of returns on savings account. Even if they secretly believe it is a scam because nothing is sold and nothing is bought, it is easy to dismiss the guilty thought with the simple fact that putting your money somewhere and getting returns to many could be considered a form of investment.
“I sleep and wake with risk, go out and come in is with risk, buy and sell with risk, save money in bank with risk, deal with people with risk, if I involve in the said ponzi scheme it is risk, I better do it than regret not doing it. I have been praying to buy car and now I have it courtesy of MMM, I really thank God for this, that I heard it on time and didn’t hesitate to do it. Whoever says it isn’t good should not do it and regret later”, Dele Alariyo said.
Heavenly opportunity I can say for some and maybe the later effect can be a scam from hell for others. A lot of people have built their houses, some are buying cars and recently, one of the guiders got married with the MMM returns or I say benefits and contributions from others. For all of these to take place, they must have one way or the other prayed about it and the result is getting money to do what they want. To them of course it is a heavenly opportunity and their prayers have been answered. The scam from hell part of it will be those that will fall victim of not getting back their money at the end of the day, usually due to their negligence to follow the rules or not following proper procedure. Does that then really make it a scam from hell?
Well, it is often said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and it can be argued that some bad things come in good, often irresistible forms. During hard times, this ponzi scheme might just be an illustration of these sayings but do people really care if that is so when there are no alternatives with just as good benefits?
I have often read of how it burns in hell, but like all good things that must come to an end, this scheme will burn people emotionally and mentally when it gets to its peak and unable to meet the demands of investors. Despite the warnings and cautions giving to people, they still turn deaf ears to it, especially investing money that wouldn’t affect them if anything happens. Well, this is what hell really is, a place people find themselves when they refuse to heed the truth until reality sets in.
This scheme was set up in 1989 by three Russians Sergei Mavrodi, his brother Vyacheslav Mavrodi, and Olga Melnikova. The name MMM was taken from the first letters of the three founders’ surnames. Initially, the company imported computers and office equipment. MMM was accused of tax evasion in January 1992 which led to the collapse of MMM-bank, making it difficult for the company to obtaining financing support for its operations.
МММ global was a Russian company that perpetrated one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes of all time, in the 1990s. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam which promises investors a large profit at little to no risk. The scheme generates returns for older investors by acquiring new investors. In 1994, MMM morphed into a successful Ponzi scheme.
Seigei Marvrodi is a convicted fraudster who had run similar fraud schemes in Russia. He was arrested in August 1994 for tax evasion. In 2007, a Russian court found him guilty of defrauding 10,000 investors out of 110 million rubles (4.3 million US dollars). He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
No one can actually define the purity and legality of this scheme because from its history, nothing has been good about it, it has taken different forms to rob people off their monies at some point after it generates much traffic to the extent that everybody wants to get paid and no one want to provide help. But in as much as it pays, it is heavenly. Not a scam at that period. But in reality, it is actually a scheme and the biggest form of fraud that poses to be a community assistance from one person to another based on their objectives.
The “PONZI” scheme which promises 30 % of Return on Investment after 30 days has become the anthem of many Nigerians. Religious leaders directly or indirectly are taking part in the scheme, and those who look up to them for guidance think, “for them to be involved, and making money from it, it simply means an answered prayer.”
It is a stated fact that this is actually a scam from hell, as it has failed in several counties such as South Africa, Zimbabwe. China banned its operations.
With the same business model as MMM-2011, it had started operations in South Africa, promising a 30 per cent per month return through a social financial network. A number of South African banks are shutting down accounts they believe could be linked to MMM. In May, Capitec bank reportedly closed 2000 bank accounts linked to the MMM scheme.
In September, reports surfaced that the scheme had crashed in Zimbabwe and thousands of people lost their investment. It was later reported that it did not crash but the reward was slashed from 100 per cent to 20 per cent.
No one can be held responsible for its failure after it crashes, it has no legal backing, it has no goods and services exchange, and it has no players that are physical, even the guiders job doesn’t go beyond more than phone calls. But until after the scheme reaches it’s climax and it becomes handicapped to pay investors their capital and benefits, many will refuse to see it as it is meant to be seen, happily choosing to take advantage of the opportunity before it falls apart.
Motunrayo Zeezy Idris is a graduate of Nigerian Institute of Journalism, and a practising journalist.
A talented and dynamic lady with excellent communication skills, fused with personal competencies acquired through experiences and exposure in the course of undertaking several responsibilities.