HBO will explore the scam that rocked the world of fast food in a new docuseries titled, ”McMillions.” The doc will examine the McDonald’s Monopoly game scandal and how investigators were able to uncover the scheme that ex-cop Jerry Jacobson masterminded, stealing millions of dollars.
The six-part docuseries, based on a 2018 Daily Beast story by Jeff Maysh, will detail how Jacobson successfully ripped off the McDonald’s wildly successful Monopoly game. The promotion was so successful because it gave customers who collected game pieces from french fry containers the opportunity to win prizes, ranging from free fries to $1 million in cash.
However, for more than 12 years, Jacobson managed to win almost every prize with his elaborate scheme.
Initially, investigators brushed off the idea of someone ripping off a McDonald’s game. But, once they decided to look further into it, they discovered Jacobson, who was working for the production company that created the game pieces. According to the Business Insider, Jacobson was able to gain access to the pieces before turning them over to a wide network of shiesty individuals, including mobsters and drug traffickers in exchange for a cut of the winnings. Pieces were then sold to individuals looking to win big in the promotion.
The scheme began in 1989 after Jacobson gave his stepbrother a game piece worth $25,000. At that time, according to Daily Beast, Jacobson said he just did it ”to see if I could do it.” Six years later, after the computer randomly selected a Canadian factory to receive the winning pieces, Jacobson said executives at his job at Simon Marketing reran the program until it chose an area in the States. At that point, Jacobson decided to go through with his scheme, since the game was rigged anyway. For the next 12 years, Jacobson gave out winning pieces, until the FBI received an anonymous tip in 2000. By 2001, over 50 people were convicted in connection to the scheme. Jacobson was ultimately sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to repay $12.5 million of the money that he swindled.
The James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte directed the series on February 3rd.