10 years after a 2001 nationwide FBI investigation that mostly went unnoticed by the public, a new HBO True Crime documentary lays bare a cleverly laid, decade long scheme involving fast-food chain McDonald’s, and their infamous Monopoly prize game.
The McDonald’s Monopoly game is a popular sales promotion run by McDonald’s, based on the Hasbro board game Monopoly. The game first ran in the late 80s and has continued to run seasonally around the world.
However, In 2001, all US promotion was suddenly halted after a hotline tip was brought in to the FBI. Someone, somehow, was stealing the top game pieces. What follows is an almost Hollywood-esque 6 part drama involving the Mafia, FBI officials and McDonald’s infamous golden arches. That hotline tip resulted in more than $24 million worth of fraud being uncovered, as well as the discovery that almost all the Monopoly winners during the 1990s were related by either blood or by marriage.
The shocking story focuses on a Mr “Uncle Jerry” Jacobson, head of security for company Simon Worldwide Inc, father and former police officer. Mr Jacobson’s job was to ensure that the winning pieces were monitored at all times and were fairly distributed onto McDonald’s products.
Instead, he chose to share the prizes with family, friends and close business associates.
What makes this particular account even more interesting, is the characters involved. From the charmingly lovable FBI Agent Doug Mathews who in episode one, attended that first tense FBI-McDonalds meeting wearing a golden “fry coloured” suit, to actor Mark Wahlberg (of Entourage and Ted fame) signing on to executive produce the documentary, in disbelief that no one had ever heard of this wild story before.
The 6-part documentary also showcases a host of people from all walks of life, from Jerry himself to a struggling single mum to a psychic. But undeniably FBI Agent Doug steals the show. Plans for a second season are still being discussed, with showrunners James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte saying they had too many stories to include in just one season.
There are plans to turn this multi-levelled caper into a Hollywood movie, with Ben Affleck in the director’s chair. You can watch McMillions online at HBO, using Sky All Access or with an Amazon Prime account. McMillions Trailer