Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes fraud - 'McMillions'

Uncle Jerry met Gennaro "Jerry" Colombo, a Sicilian, Brooklyn-raised man who was linked to the Colombo crime family by chance at the Atlanta airport. Days later Jacobson handed Colombo the winning game piece for a Dodge Viper. The mobster recruited his associates, taking a cut for himself.
Colombo died in a car accident along the Georgia–South Carolina border.
The story of Uncle Jerry's fraud is in the works, with Ben Affleck set to direct and Matt Damon to star. The scheme is also subject of a new HBO documentary series, 'McMillions.'

Head of security Jacobson was under surveillance by an auditor, but she could not follow him to the bathroom. It was there where Jacobson made his drops. A foreign supplier in charge of the tamper-proof seals mistakenly sent him a package of seals directly. Suddenly, he had a way of opening and re-sealing the packages of winning McDonald’s game pieces.
In March 2000, the FBI received a tip about William Fisher, a $1m winner in 1996. Fisher was the father-in-law of a man Jacobson had met in the Atlanta airport. There was a cluster of other big winners.

When McDonald’s launched another promotional game in 2001, the FBI was ready with wiretaps. The FBI arrested Jacobson and seven accomplices in August 2001, charging them with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The scam netted a total of more than $24m in cash and prizes. Eventually, more than 50 people in total were convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy.
“Uncle Jerry” was behind an operation to fraudulently acquire tens of millions of dollars from the McDonald’s sweepstakes. Uncle Jerry was Jerome Jacobson, who was director of security and had responsibility of overseeing the production of valuable game pieces required to claim prizes in McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes. Jacobson distributed winning game pieces to relatives, friends, and other people he recruited. The operation was successful for over 12 years, before ultimately being broken up by the FBI.Jerome Jacobson
Jacobson stole his first game piece in 1989. At trial he testified that from 1995 to 2001, he stole most of the games' high-value pieces, selling some to family and friends, who recruited others. Jacobson was sentenced to 37 months in prison.