Not sure how I missed this story back in the late 1980s. I guess it was because I didn't get into McDonald's promotions until after my daughter was born in 1992 and Beanie Babies began. Anyhow, McDonald's sponsored a Monopoly type game with game pieces being peeled off various items you could purchase. Large prizes like cruises and small prizes like free fries were promised but none of the big prizes were delivered to the average customer.
A scam of huge proportions was being perpetrated by the game designer, the mob, and many others.
HBO Series #McMillionsHBO Everyone Played It: One Man Rigged It from The Guardian.
It was always a crime story hiding in plain sight. From 1987 to the 1990s, McDonald’s crowned dozens of winners in its promotional Monopoly game, which awarded customers prizes ranging from a free drink to a car to a million dollars. Big-time winners – the rare ticket-finders – were interviewed on the news and profiled in the papers. Except none of the winners were real.
Or rather, none actually stumbled upon a lucky ticket. They were picked in a scheme run by a rogue ex-police officer, Jerome Jacobson, involving mob connections, false addresses, smuggled tickets and over $24m in illegal winnings – a genuinely crazy, rabbit-hole story of greed, deceit, and good old American scamming explored in McMillions, a six-part HBO docuseries out this week.