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'McMillions': Documentary On McDonald's Monopoly Fraud Scam Is Coming To Sky

'McMillions': Documentary On McDonald's Monopoly Fraud Scam Is Coming To Sky

Here at Tyla, we love a good true-crime docu-series. But a true crime docu-series about McDonald's? Now, that's *really* our jam.

Coming to Sky Documentaries and NOWTV on 27th May, HBO's McMillions explores the infamous McDonald's Monopoly fraud case, in all its whacky and almost unbelievable detail.

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In case you need reminding, the scam took place between 1995 and 2001, and was orchestrated by a man known as 'Uncle Jerry' - who was really an ex cop named Jermone Jacobson.

He worked at Simon Marketing (the firm who dreamt up the promotion) and stole a selection of the best prizes over the years.

Plus, he also chose the winners himself, ensuring that several of his close family and friends won the most valuable rewards on offer, from sports cars to cash prizes to holidays.

The McDonald's Monopoly scam ran for six years (Credit: HBO)
The McDonald's Monopoly scam ran for six years (Credit: HBO)
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But it didn't stop there, as throughout the years, 'Uncle Jerry' begun to get a little too confident in his scheme, involving a whole cohort of questionable characters including the Italian Mafia and stealing $24 million (£19.6 million) worth of prizes.

The scam was first uncovered by FBI agent Doug Matthews, who was a new recruit at the time, in Jacksonville, Florida.

After being given an anonymous tip-off Doug begun researching the scam tirelessly, and, when documentary makers James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte came across him, the six part docu-series was born.

Agent Matthews was a key player in uncovering the scam (Credit: HBO)
Agent Matthews was a key player in uncovering the scam (Credit: HBO)

In the end, Matthews and his team tracked down 'Uncle Jerry,' and found enough information through wire taps and recorded conversations to press charges against him. Plus, over 50 people ended up being indicted.

Speaking to the agents at the heart of the investigation, as well as to individuals who were caught up in the scam, McDonald's reps and members of the marketing company, the documentary will show how they finally rumbled 'Uncle Jerry' and the rest of the criminals.

But it will also seek to show them on a human level, and understand how they were sucked in, and got so over their heads.

The investigation was a long time in the making (Credit: HBO)
The investigation was a long time in the making (Credit: HBO)

"You could easily villainise them, but then you realise they were just opportunists," film-maker Hernandez tells The Independent.

"Everyone has seen movies about federal officers, FBI agents, federal prosecutors. Usually they're just robots with suit jackets."

"Meeting people, and meeting Mathews, and seeing what goes into an actual FBI investigation - taking this really small kernel of information and exploding it into a huge case - was fascinating."

McMillions has already aired on HBO in the US, it is landing on Sky Documentaries and NOWTV on May 27th.

Featured Image Credit: HBO

Topics: True Crime, HBO, TV News, TV Entertainment, Sky

Joanna Freedman

Joanna is a journalist at Tyla with a particular interest in highlighting women's issues and telling inspiring first person stories. She's also their resident foodie, and loves covering exciting new beauty launches, too. Contact her at [email protected]

 

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