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What To Know About 'McMillions,' A Documentary On The McDonald's Monopoly Scam

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What To Know About 'McMillions,' A Documentary On The McDonald's Monopoly Scam

The theft of McDonald's Corp (NYSE: MCD) promotional Monopoly pieces is likely the biggest financial scandal you've never heard of. 

The 'Funny And Tragic' Documentary 'McMillions' 

McDonald's ongoing Monopoly promotion, where guests collect properties and hope to win a prize, was riddled with corruption and fraud throughout the 1990s.

The story is the subject of a six-part documentary on HBO and explains how an ex-police officer named Jerry Jacobson managed to steal rare Monopoly pieces and sell them.

Filmmaker James Lee Hernandez drew inspiration to create a documentary on the fraud in 2012, and his documentary "McMillions" takes a "funny and tragic" approach in its storytelling, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It's in contrast to a growing trend of documentaries focusing on mass murderers and other depressing storylines, the Times said. 

The decade-long fraud barely made headlines, as it unraveled near 9/11 and was overshadowed by that story. The documentary was made possible with the assistance of law enforcement personnel who were eager to share their stories.

Former McDonald's CEO Comments On Scam

Ed Rensi was president and CEO of McDonald's from 1991 to 1997, and he said on Fox Business the scam went unnoticed until a "clever" FBI agent in Florida put the pieces together.

The FBI agent, Doug Matthews, discovered that an unusual number of Monopoly winners were located in the Jacksonville area.

Rensi said it turned out all of the prize winners were relatives of the ex-cop Jacobson, who coincidentally happened to be in charge of securing the Monopoly pieces.

Legitimate customers were left with hamburgers and french fries as prizes.

The event is "embarrassing" for McDonald's and a "tragedy" because McDonald's employees and customers were a victim of a fraud, Rensi said. 

'McMillions' Airing On HBO 

Episode one of the documentary premiered Feb. 3, and it will air each week until the finale on March 9.

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Photo by Katy Warner via Wikimedia

 

 

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