Now replaced mostly by mythical “crypto trading” schemes, a few years ago MLM forex trading scams were all the rage.

A number of the schemes originated out of Malaysia and surrounding countries, although most operated through shell companies incorporated in New Zealand, Australia and various Pacific island nations.

One such scam was Maxim Trader, which promised affiliates a monthly ROI of up to 8% on $5000 to $10,000 investments.

Maxim Trader affiliates were of course also paid to recruit new investors through an MLM compensation plan.

Maxim Trader was billed as a Malaysian company with ties to shell companies incorporated in Seychelles and New Zealand.

The scheme launched in mid 2013 and collapsed two years later in 2015.

At the time an estimated 50,000 investors across Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore were believed to have lost around $5 billion USD.

Although it was widely circulated that Maxim Trader was owned by three Malaysian Datuks, turns out it was actually run by three Singaporean nationals.

On Tuesday January 9th Maxim Trader CEO Andrew Lim Ann Hoe and accomplices Chin Ming Kam and Goh Seow Mooi faced court on charges of promoting a pyramid selling scheme.

On Tuesday, the court heard that Lim is also accused of causing Maxim Capital Limited to carry on a business of fund management without holding a capital markets services licence granted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

He intends to plead guilty to his offences and will be back in court on Jan 24.

Chin and Goh allegedly carried on a business of leveraged foreign exchange trading without holding the same licence. Their cases have been adjourned to Jan 23.

If convicted, Lim, Chin and Goh face prison sentences of up to five years and a $200,000 fine.

No word on where the $5 billion Maxim Trader took in wound up. Following Maxim Trader’s 2015 collapse it was reported that an 90% of funds invested were simply “gone”.