June 15, 2024

Allegations of $2.9M Ponzi Scheme - Harvard Business School MBA Accused

A claim against a Harvard Business School MBA for instigating a Ponzi scheme of $2.9 million has been put forth by New York state’s attorney general. At least 29 investors were reportedly defrauded, inclusive of one alleged suicide incident due to total investment loss.

According to New York State Attorney General Letitia James, on Thursday (February 29), HBS Class of 2003 alumni, Vladimir Artamonov, engaged in duplicitous practices, luring investors with promises of 500% to 1,000% returns. This was achieved on the basis falsely claiming knowledge of investments planned by Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of Warren Buffett.

Artamonov’s former classmates at Harvard, namely Mei Shibata, Arndt Nicklisch, and Rahul Mehendale, are presented as affidavit providers against him, as stated in the court order.

This legal situation marks a significant downfall for once high socialite and a noticeable presence in New York City’s Pretty Young Thing society circuit – evident by his multiple appearances in paparazzi photos at various city hotspots and galleries.


Allegations of $2.9M Ponzi Scheme - Harvard Business School MBA AccusedAllegations of $2.9M Ponzi Scheme - Harvard Business School MBA Accused

Vladimir Artamonov. LinkedIn

Artamonov applied convincing tactics to encourage his seemingly smart friends and acquaintances to part ways with their money, notes Attorney General James. In fact, a statement from her office asserts that “Vladimir Artamonov leveraged his Harvard alumnus status to victimize his classmates and others, maintaining an appearance of legitimacy and reliability.”

Letitia James, known for recently achieving a judgment against Donald Trump for fraud to the tune of half a billion dollars, reveals that her office has obtained a court order to restrict Artamonov from perpetuating damage via his fraudulent scheme and from dealing with funds in his bank and brokerage accounts.

Artamonov is accused of irresponsibility leading to millions in investors’ losses via the procurement of short-term options, while failing to disclose said losses and predatory practices such as unauthorized personal expenses on vacations, shopping, and dining, and using new investments to reimburse existing investors.


Until the present day, starting from September 2021, it is alleged that Artamonov solicited resources for an investment fund dubbed “Project Information Arbitrage” as well as the “Artamonov Fund”. Notably, many of his investors were identified via the HBS alumni network; however, many of these investors only knew him as an acquaintance.

An instance of his fraudulent practices was recorded in October of 2022, wherein Artamonov received $100,000 from an investor, subsequently losing the bulk of these funds on short-term options within a few weeks. However, when queried by the investor, Artamonov alleged that he had yet to invest while soliciting an additional $50,000 from him.

His alleged Ponzi scheme came under scrutiny upon the office learning about an investor suicide because of a $100,000 loss in Artamonov’s pretended scheme. In spite of this tragic occurrence, Artamonov allegedly persisted in attracting new investors while delivering falsified information concerning the fund’s strategy and performance.

When approached by CNBC for a statement, HBS spokesman, Mark Cautela responded via email: “We just found out about this earlier today. We have no additional comment.”

Co-founder of ‘value-focused’ hedge fund, Coastal Investment Management, Artamonov’s LinkedIn account lists him as an “investment professional” at Greenlight Capital; a hedge fund based in New York with a portfolio of $4.5 billion even though he ceased working for them more than 15 years ago in December 2008. The now controversial Artamonov secured his MBA from Harvard Business School post working for two years as a financial analyst in the M&A group of Merrill Lynch, after graduating from The Wharton School in 1999.