Lado Okhotnikov indicted for Forsage Ponzi wire fraud
Forsage founder Vladimir “Lado” Okhotnikov has been indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In addition to Okhotnikov (right), a federal grand jury also indicted Olena Oblamska (aka Lola Ferrari), Mikhail Sergeev (aka Mike Mooney, Gleb and Gleb Million), and Sergey Maslakov.
All four Russian nationals are founders of the original Forsage Ponzi scheme.
All up, Forsage’s founders stand accused of running a $340 million dollar crypto Ponzi scheme.
At time of publication the Forsage criminal case docket hasn’t appeared on Pacer.
Nonetheless, details of the Forsage indictments are available via a February 22nd DOJ press-release;
As alleged in the indictment, the defendants aggressively promoted Forsage to the public through social media as a legitimate and lucrative business opportunity, but in reality, the defendants operated Forsage as a Ponzi and pyramid investment scheme that took in approximately $340 million from victim-investors around the world.
According to court documents, the defendants allegedly coded and deployed smart contracts that systematized their combined Ponzi-pyramid scheme on the Ethereum (ETH), Binance Smart Chain, and Tron blockchains.
Analysis of the computer code underlying Forsage’s smart contracts allegedly revealed that, consistent with a Ponzi scheme, as soon as an investor invested in Forsage by purchasing a “slot” in a Forsage smart contract, the smart contract automatically diverted the investor’s funds to other Forsage investors, such that earlier investors were paid with funds from later investors.
BehindMLM correctly identified Forsage as a Ponzi scheme when it first emerged in 2020.
Blockchain analytics confirmed that over 80% of Forsage investors received fewer ETH back than they had invested in Forsage’s Ethereum program, with over 50% of investors never receiving a single payout.
Additionally, according to court documents, the defendants coded at least one of Forsage’s accounts (known as the “xGold” smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain) in a way that fraudulently siphoned investors’ funds out of the Forsage investment network and into cryptocurrency accounts under the founders’ control, which was contrary to representations made to Forsage investors that “100% of the [Forsage] income goes directly and transparently to the members of the project with zero risk.”
Okhotnikov and his accomplices have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, they each face up to twenty years in prison.
After the original incarnation of MetaForce collapsed, Okhotnikov has rebooted the Ponzi with NFTs and a “uniteverse” metaverse grift.
There’s also a “Force coin” exit-scam on the way:
Okhotnikov is believed to be based out of Georgia (the European country). Georgia presently does not have an extradition treaty with the US however, as of February 2023, negotiations towards one are underway.
Georgia and the United States have enjoyed a rich history of law enforcement and judicial cooperation spanning 30 years, including collaborating on large scale transnational fraud, organized crime, money laundering, human trafficking, and other serious offenses.
Through many years of law enforcement cooperation, the two countries have built a strong partnership and trust, and this is the next step in building that relationship.
Whether YouTube will take action now that it’s enabling an indicted fugitive to further defraud consumers remains to be seen.
Forsage’s other indicted founders have gone into hiding. Olena Oblamska’s last known location was Bali, Indonesia.
Mikail Sergeev and Sergey Maslakov (below) are believed to be in Russia.
All four Forsage founders were also charged with securities fraud by the SEC last August.
Default judgment has already been entered against Oblamska and Maslakov. Sergeev was recently served via alternative service.
As of February 2023, Okhotnikov has acquired US counsel and is challenging the case. In typical crypto bro fashion, Okhotnikov claims the SEC doesn’t understand Forsage.
BehindMLM has added the Forsage criminal case to its calendar. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to track the case.