The story of how a former Georgia police officer rigged the McDonald’s Monopoly Game for over a decade is captivating the Internet.
Over the weekend, The Daily Beast published details of Jerome Jacobson’s large-scale scam to bilk McDonald’s for more than $24 million in cash and prizes between 1989 and 2001, after he obtained a job as a private security officer overseeing the production of the McDonald’s game pieces.
Jacobson’s position, where he oversaw the printing process, reportedly allowed him access to the winning Monopoly pieces, which he was tasked with hiding in McDonald’s packaging factories across the U.S. And in 1989, just “to see if I could do it,” Jacobson gave his brother-in-law a winning game piece worth $25,000 at a family event in Florida.
Years later, in 1995, after Jacobson claimed to witness Simon Marketing re-do a drawing that randomly selected a winner in Canada (he said the company didn’t want the bigger prizes sent up north), he realized the game was flawed and decided to go all-in, sending the winning pieces off to acquaintances and friends of friends, who would then redeem the prizes and give Jacobson a cut.
Over the following years, Jacobson’s crime network encompassed “a sprawling network of mobsters, psychics, strip club owners, convicts, drug traffickers, and even a family of Mormons, who had falsely claimed more than $24 million in cash and prizes,” according to the Daily Beast.
An anonymous tip in 2000 led the FBI to begin investigating Jacobson. With the help of McDonald’s — the chain went ahead with a 2001 Monopoly promotion at the behest of the FBI, even though execs initially wanted to cancel the whole thing — Jacobson and his cronies were arrested for mail fraud and conspiracy in the summer of 2001.
Jacobson was also ordered to pay back $12.5 million, and serve just over three years in prison. The Daily Beast’s report suggests that, because the trial began the day before 9/11, it was largely forgotten.
But now, following the Daily Beast’s report, news of Jacobson’s scheme is rippling across the Internet, with Twitter users calling it “incredible” and begging for further details, while others see it as a prime candidate for a film adaptation.
Meanwhile, Jacobson, now 76, is reportedly living a quiet life in Georgia, according to the Daily Beast.
One of his cohorts, Andrew Glomb, added that he keeps in contact with Jacobson, and doesn't shy away from bringing up the past.
“Every time I talk to Jacobson, I always tease him," said Glomb. "I say, "You got any tickets?""