On Jan. 11, Mavrodi launched a new pyramid scheme, MMM-2011, which uses pretty much the same trick that got him sentenced to 4½ years in prison the last time. It asks investors to buy his so-called MMM Dollars — which he playfully calls "candy wrappers" — and wait for him to assign them a new value twice a week on his blog. He said he expects their value to grow by 30% per month for "pensioners and invalids" and 20% for everyone else, but stressed that this was only his opinion: "I could be wrong," he said on his blog. That kind of candor is what sets Mavrodi's game apart from your average pyramid scheme. Unlike the original MMM, which Mavrodi passed off as an upstanding financial institution with retail locations that sold its shares (complete with Mavrodi's picture on the front), the new MMM is more up-front. "This is a pyramid," Mavrodi said in his appeal to the nation on his blog. "It is a naked scheme, nothing more ... People interact with each other and give each other money. For no reason!" Somewhat less believably, he added, "I'm not getting a penny out of this. I'm simply showing the way."