Forsage Founders Indicted for $340M Ponzi Scheme Masquerading as DeFi Platform

Company relied on smart contracts whose coding is consistent with a Ponzi scheme, the U.S. Justice Department says.

AccessTimeIconFeb 22, 2023 at 11:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 23, 2023 at 4:34 p.m. UTC
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The founders of Forsage were indicted in the U.S. for running a $340 million Ponzi scheme that portrayed itself as a decentralized finance (DeFi) investing platform.

Four Russian nationals – Vladimir Okhotnikov, Olena Oblamska, Mikhail Sergeev and Sergey Maslakov – promoted Forsage on social media as a legitimate system, when in fact it was fraudulent scheme, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement announcing their indictments Wednesday.

Forsage relied on smart contracts on Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain and Tron that were "consistent with a Ponzi scheme," the statement said. "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."

The news follows the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in August charging 11 people tied to Forsage with fraud.

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Nick Baker

Nick Baker is CoinDesk’s deputy editor-in-chief and a Loeb Award winner. His crypto holdings are below CoinDesk's $1,000 disclosure threshold.


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