A former police officer who oversaw the printing of the McDonald’s Monopoly game tickets rigged the game and bilked the company out of more than $24 million in cash and prizes, according to a recent report.
Jerry Jacobson had key access to the prizes as head of production for Simon Marketing, which provided McDonald’s with the game stickers, according to the report published in the Daily Beast.
“It was my responsibility to keep the integrity of the game and get those winners to the public,” Jacobson would later tell investigators.
But Jacobson soon began fixing the game, stealing $1 million “instant prize” winners and handing them out to family and friends, who gave some of the earnings back to Jacobson, typically before announcing they had won.
Jacobson instructed people to create backstories to throw off suspicion but eventually, federal agents unraveled his scheme, reported the Daily Beast.
Jacobson started by slipping his stepbrother a piece worth $25,000 in 1989. “I don’t know if I just wanted to show him I could do something, or bragging,” Jacobson later admitted, but said he just needed “to see if I could do it.”
Remember the McDonalds Monopoly game? It was fixed so almost no one won except mobsters, psychics, strip club owners, and drug traffickers. https://t.co/FAEbp24nvr
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) July 29, 2018
He soon gave his butcher a $10,000 ticket, and the butcher paid Jacobson $2,000.
In 1995, Jacobson grew more serious about the theft when he was sent a package by mistake that contained a set of anti-tamper seals for the game-piece envelopes containing prize winners, which he used to steal game pieces as they were en route to the Simon Marketing factory.
“I would go into the men’s room of the airport,” he said. “I would go into a stall. I would take the seal off.”
After pouring the winning game pieces into his cupped hand he’d replace them with common pieces and re-seal the envelope.
After 12 years, Jacobson was caught. The reported reason that few have heard of the tale is that the trial started on September 10, 2001. One day later, the terrorist attack on New York City happened. Jacobson’s associates, who helped him recruit winners, were sentenced to a year and one day in prison while Jacobson went to jail for 37 months and paid $12.5 million in restitution.
According to the Daily Beast, he’s now retired and living a quiet life in Georgia.