Sergei Mavrodi, 'Russian Bernie Madoff,' Back In Business

01/17/2011 09:59 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

How to describe Russia's most famous charlatan, Sergei Mavrodi? Take the swindling power of Bernie Madoff, combine it with the hypnotic creepiness of a midnight televangelist, wrap it in a math teacher's wardrobe, and you'd be pretty close. During the 1990s, Mavrodi's crude financial pyramid scheme, MMM, cheated millions of Russians out of their savings, turning the ex--night watchman into a symbol of that decade's shameless brand of capitalism. But now, three years after serving out his sentence for fraud, Mavrodi has returned to his old hustle, and the authorities can't seem to do anything about it.

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