One Pastor Ernest Chigozie Mbanefo, a Nigerian, has been revealed as the mastermind of the suspected Ponzi scheme known as MMM Nigeria. The man is reportedly based in South Africa. Nigerian Communications Week, NCW, said Mbanefo registered the site MMM-Nigeria.net domain on June 7, 2016 at about 5 pm Nigerian time.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, quoting NCW And Pageone report written as far back as September said Mbanefo made a single year domain payment.
The domain will expire on June 7, 2017. It was also revealed that MMM Nigeria is not part of MMM Global – a Russian company that was responsible for one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes in the 1990s. MMM Global was founded by Russian politician Sergei Mavrodi, his brother Vyacheslav Mavrodi and Olga Melnikova.
The name of the company was taken from the first letters of the three founders’ surnames (MMM) But like MMM Global, the Nigerian scheme is also a pyramid marketing scheme where an investor gets a 30 per cent return on investment. Around the world, MMM is feared.
In January 2016 the Chinese government banned MMM on the grounds that it is a pyramid scheme, (Ponzi scheme), and it is not registered in the country (and as a fraudulent scheme cannot be registered. MMM recently crashed in Zimbabwe: Thousands of ‘Mavrodians’ in Zimbabwe were left in tears when the scheme crashed, losing tens of thousands of their lifetime savings.
PageOne gave Mbanefo’s address as 1 ROYAL STREET, LINDBERG PARK, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA. According to Page One, on the 15th of July, Ernest was awarded a certificate of completion of an online course titled ‘MMM Guiders School’. The certificate was supposedly signed by Sergei Mavrodi himself. He has since given himself the nickname the ‘Super Guider of MMM’. To share news and information about MMM, Ernest also operates a subdomain ‘news.mmm-nigeria.net. The site praises him and projects him as the leader of the Ponzi Scheme in Nigeria.