I lost Millions, I lost it all!

Tasha Poduska
7 min readFeb 25, 2024


It’s been a whirlwind year since my last confession to the digital world, and in that time, the echoes of my past misadventures have only grown louder. Many of you, my faithful readers, have been clamoring for the sequel to my saga — what happened after the dust settled, where did the winds of fate carry me next, and how did I find my way back from the brink? In the spirit of Elizabeth Gilbert, whose dedication to her craft has inspired millions, I’ve decided to commit myself to the art of writing with a fervor I’ve reserved until now for life coaching. Writing, for me, has become a sanctuary, a place where I can unravel the threads of my experiences, both lived and imagined, and weave them into stories that might just resonate with someone out there in the vastness of the internet.

I never intended this blog to be a beacon for my failures, a ledger of my losses, or a diary of despair. I envisioned a tapestry of thrilling successes, each post a testament to the triumph of will. But a chance encounter with a podcast uttering a simple yet profound sentence –

“He only ever hires people who have made a million dollars and lost it all to work for him”

Stating that true wisdom comes from having made and lost a fortune — this shifted my perspective. Suddenly, my darkest hour seemed not a pit of failure but a pedestal of invaluable experience.

As I stand here, recounting the tale of my erstwhile empire in the untamed economic wilderness of ’90s Russia, where I juggled sugar and timber across the icy vastness, flaunting my wealth with an arrogance that knew no bounds, I’m struck by the folly of my younger self. It was my hubris, my insatiable need to be right, that orchestrated my downfall, leading to a legal quagmire in Paris that bled me dry. The realization that international lawsuits freeze assets and cut off credit was a lesson learned too late, as I watched helplessly while my empire crumbled, leaving me bankrupt and broken.

Yet, here I am, years removed from the calamity that upended my life, finding solace and strength in the act of sharing my story. My past, once a shadow I sought to escape, now serves as a testament to my endurance, my capacity for rebirth, and my relentless pursuit of a life defined not by material wealth but by the richness of experience.

In embracing my failures as fervently as my successes, I’ve discovered a newfound freedom. The weight of shame that once shackled my spirit has been lifted, allowing me to view each setback as a step toward greater wisdom and understanding. I’ve learned that the most profound lessons often come from our greatest defeats, and that true growth is forged in the crucible of adversity.

So, to those who’ve followed my journey thus far, know this: the path of life is strewn with obstacles, but each one is an opportunity in disguise. My tale is a reminder that even when we stumble, even when we fall, there is always a chance to rise again, stronger and more enlightened than before. Our failures, much like our successes, shape us into the individuals we are meant to become, and it is in owning our entire story — the good, the bad, and everything in between — that we find our true power.

As I continue to navigate the twists and turns of this unpredictable life, I do so with no regrets, only gratitude for the lessons learned and the battles fought. And in sharing my story, I hope to inspire others to embrace their own, to find strength in their struggles, and to understand that in the end, what doesn’t kill us truly does make us stronger.

Setting down my burden, the tale of loosing millions of dollars over arrogance.

By the early ’90s, I was thriving in Russia’s Far East, running EMA, my booming venture. Importing sugar, exporting timber, and navigating the bureaucratic maze of oil ports, I was on top of the world, flaunting my wealth and admittedly, my arrogance knew no bounds. My insistence on being right, prioritizing pride over profit, precipitated my downfall.

Given the unique position of my store in the early ’90s Far East Russian market, where imported goods were scarce, other cities often bought out my inventory to resell. This created challenges in maintaining stock for my local customers. A significant buyer from the northern city of Magadan, almost a stone’s throw from Alaska, frequently purchased from me. To alleviate this issue, I connected them directly with my suppliers, enabling them to order independently. This strategy restored balance to my operations, effectively resolving my supply dilemma.

Half a year later while at my flat in London on a business trip, I received an unexpected call from my Khabarovsk team about a complication at Magadan Port — a place I had no dealings with. They reported five containers of spoiled sandwich meat, blocked by customs and slated for destruction, were somehow tied to my credit. Baffled, as I never extended credit, especially for dealings not in Magadan, I was adamant there was some mistake. Despite my team’s insistence on my involvement, I refused to authorize the destruction of cargo I believed wasn’t mine, convinced my wealth could rectify any issue.

Shortly after returning to Khabarovsk, I delved into the paperwork concerning the debacle in Magadan and discovered that indeed, five containers of packaged meat had been dispatched there on credit, a deal set with a 45-day post-shipment payment term. It turned out the recipients were precisely the group I’d connected with suppliers, yet I couldn’t fathom my involvement. Despite my protests and insistence that the mishap wasn’t our concern but rather an error on Magadan’s part for misjudging the viability of shipping perishable goods, my friend and translator revealed a startling truth: the credit was issued in my name. Enraged and demanding evidence of my consent, I confronted both the Magadan team and the supplier. It became clear the Magadan group had been misled, not realizing the impracticality of their agreement, thinking they had secured a favorable deal, unaware of the impending spoilage and financial burden it would bring upon us.

In a fiery call to the supplier, I vented my frustration over their assumptions that led to a hefty credit issue under my name, tied to the Magadan team’s debacle. Their justification? My introduction implied endorsement. Outraged, I consulted the closest thing I had to legal counsel — a savvy operator on the fringes of finance in Antigua. His advice? Settlement might be the pragmatic choice, given the high stakes of international litigation. But settling wasn’t in my playbook. Determined to fight, I was ready to challenge the claims and clear my name, refusing to let this costly misunderstanding slide.

I decided to take legal action, and given the international nature of the dispute, Paris, France, was chosen as the neutral venue for the lawsuit. Determined to win, I spared no expense, flying myself, my top-notch lawyer from Antigua, who only flew first class and my team from Magadan to Paris. Financially, I was well-prepared for this battle, boasting a net worth close to $4.3 million in 1997. The cost of the spoiled meat, destroying the meat and the fines in Magadan were around $250,000 when this all started.

Upon our arrival in Paris, confident in our strong case against their lack, I anticipated a swift victory. However, in court, only their legal team showed up, sans the supplier — a move I found odd. Almost immediately, they sought an extension, citing insufficient details from Magadan and bureaucratic delays. It was clear they were stalling. After investing in travel, accommodations, and even tours to impress, we were faced with the frustrating reality of returning home, our efforts momentarily paused by this tactical delay.

My attorney cautioned me again about their strategy to prolong the process, but undeterred by the prospect of a drawn-out battle, I remained confident in my financial cushion. Yet, the reality of international litigation hit hard — my assets were frozen, and the inability to conduct business or secure loans began to erode my wealth. Repeated trips to Paris, coupled with soaring legal fees, drained my resources. Eighteen months later, the financial toll was unbearable — I stood on the brink of losing everything. The misstep of not properly structuring my company meant personal liability was a real threat, compelling me to declare bankruptcy in the US. This devastating turn left me both financially and emotionally bankrupt. Seeking solace and a fresh start, I retreated to my parents’ home, taking up a call center job and volleyball coaching, a stark return to my roots pre-college dropout days.

Publishing this narrative for the first time was a challenging but necessary step for me, a way to unburden myself. Throughout my journey, I’ve faced dismissal, financial ruin, and bankruptcy, yet each setback has been a catalyst for resurgence, teaching me resilience. Embracing my past, with its failures and triumphs, has been liberating. I once claimed my experiences as armor, not acknowledging the weight they carried. Now, I recognize my past as both a shield and a weight, symbolizing lessons learned and battles fought.

Today, I’ve transformed my trials into triumphs, becoming a successful project manager and life coach, and constructing the life I’ve always envisioned for myself. Through motivational speaking, I aim to empower others, illuminating the invaluable lessons hidden in failures. The adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” resonates deeply with me; I’ve faced physical and emotional battles, learning that the real enemy was the shame festering within, not the failures themselves.

Previously, when pondering over life’s regrets, I’d often say I wished I’d been more receptive to my team and legal counsel, stepping aside to let wisdom guide me. Yet, upon reflection, I see these weren’t regrets but crucial lessons my stubborn nature needed to confront with full force. Today, I harbor no regrets, no lingering burdens. I stride forward with ease, every step marked by peace and a newfound lightness.

Keep an eye out as I share the next chapter of my journey — my return to Utah to work at a call center, venturing back to Russia to launch a Mexican cafe, a tortilla and granola plant, and even coaching a women’s American football team with trips to Guam. But the adventure takes a turn when the FSB expels me from Russia, leading to a three-year deportation. The possibility of returning remains a question mark, adding another layer of intrigue to my story.



Tasha Poduska

I bring to the table a unique and eclectic professional journey that spans continents and industries. Want more, go to tashapoduska.com