McMillions UK: How did Jerome Jacobson scam McDonald’s? ‘It was a mind-blowing thing’

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From 1989 until 2001, Jermone ‘Jerry’ Jacobson successfully scammed McDonald’s out of $24 million [£19 million]. For those who have not yet had a chance to watch the jaw-dropping documentary on Sky and HBO, here is everything you need to know about how Jerome ‘Jerry’ Jacobson scammed McDonald’s.

How did Jerome Jacobson scam McDonald’s?

Jerry Jacobson was the mastermind behind the largest fraud case in the United States.

Using his position as head of security at Simon Marketing, which was hired by McDonald’s to organise and promote the game, Jerry was able to carry out his Monopoly scam.

Simon Marketing, where Jerry worked, was the subcontracting company McDonald’s used to help make the popular game – which meant Jerry oversaw the production and printing of the game pieces.

To carry out the fraud, he removed the most valuable tickets from the game at work and shared the ticket with his ‘associates’ and family members who would then redeem them at McDonald’s stores.

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Jerry started with his stepbrother, Marvin Braun, who went on to become a $25,000 [£19,212.38] winner in 1989.

Together, Jacobson and his associates shared the winnings until he expanded his scam network nationwide.

Between 1995 and 2000, Jacobson and his associates won almost all of the top prizes, taking home over $24 million (£19 million) in total.

He was only caught when enthusiastic FBI Agent Doug Matthews followed a tip-off in 2001.

Speaking exclusively to, McMillions directors James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte recalled where they were when they heard of the monopoly scam.

James Lee Hernandez said: “It was a mind-blowing thing. In my mind, I was like, is my entire childhood a lie?

“I could never win the million dollars but I was convinced I was going to win.

“Discovering for the first time I was laying in my bed, reading on the website Reddit and just reading [a thread] ‘Today I learned nobody really wanted the McDonald’s Monopoly game’ and I remember that moment like it was yesterday.

McMillions on Sky: What happened to Jerry Jacobson?  [RECAP]
McMillions on Sky: Who is FBI Agent Doug Matthews? Where is he now? [INSIGHT]
McMillions documentary HBO: What happened to Uncle Jerry? [EXPLAINER]

“And like Brian [Lazarte, co-director] was saying, McDonald’s, in general, was a big cornerstone in my younger life. It really, really threw me for a loop.”

Jerry pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud and received three years in federal prison and fined $12.5 million (£10 million).

Jerry was released from prison on October 21, 2005.

Speaking exclusively to, directors Lee Hernandez and Britain Lazarte discussed what happened to Jerry after he was caught.


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“So he got three, just over three years. But still when you think is the estimation that he stole cumulatively somewhere between $24 to 30 million, over a decade or a little over a decade.

“A lot of people think like he’s still in jail right now and are shocked that he’s not.”

They added: “But the truth that we’ve learned is that in white-collar crimes, as long as you don’t kill anyone or take someone hostage, and you’re just stealing money, you really don’t serve that much time.

“What you get hit with more is the fact that you have to pay restitution. You have to then you’re basically saddled financially for the rest of your life.”

McMillions is streaming on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV

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