New Docuseries About 12-Year-Long $24m McDonald's Monopoly Scam Airs Today
McMillions, a new documentary series about a $24m scam that saw loads of fake 'winners' claim huge prizes in the McDonald's Monopoly game over more than a decade, is available to watch on Sky TV and NOW TV in the UK as of today.
If you're not aware of the story, it's one of the greatest crime stories in American history, and one that we've never really been told because of when it happened.
You see, the hearings for those involved in the scam took place on September 10 and September 11 of 2001.
News of the World Trade Center attacks shunted this story from the front pages around that time.
Now it's time for this story to get some airtime.
McMillions is a rambling and ever-changing saga that has the mafia, the FBI, and McDonald's all at the centre.
A mysterious figure called 'Uncle Jerry' was found to be stealing game pieces bound for packets of fries and hamburgers, and selling them on to ordinary people who claimed to be 'winners'.
Once the FBI got wind of the scheme, they drafted an ingenious strategy to bring it down.
That involved undercover work alongside McDonald's employees, surveillance, and breaking down the web of lies that eventually led them to the truth.
It's been created for HBO by filmmakers James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte.
In an interview with LADbible, Hernandez explained: "The origins of the story were back in 2012. I was lying in bed going through Reddit on my phone and I saw a TIL [Today I Learned] that said that nobody ever really won the McDonald's Monopoly game.
"Like most kids growing up, I was obsessed with that game.
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"My first job at 16 was at McDonald's during the game, so delved into it and really couldn't find much info other than that it happened and a certain amount of people were arrested.
"Over the next year or so I looked into it and really hit a wall for information, so I put a Freedom of Information request into the US government.
"It took at little over three years to go through, but then I contacted the FBI agents and the federal prosecutors and they said that this was their favourite case that they ever worked on, and nobody had contacted them about it.
"This was the summer of 2017, and then I called up Brian and said 'let's grab some lunch and talk about what we can do with this'."
The documentary series follows the crime through a remarkable investigation process, and brings in a wide-ranging and eccentric cast of characters along the way.
It's been executive produced by Hollywood superstar Mark Wahlberg, and - after airing in the US earlier this year - spoken about in the same breath as docuseries' like Tiger King and Don't F*** With Cats.
All that, but with hamburgers.
What genre do Tiger King, Don't Fuck With Cats, and McMillions fall into? Just documentaries about weird and or hilarious criminals? Why aren't there more?
- Matt :diamonds:Duke Refresco:diamonds: Hicks (@mjhx7) March 27, 2020
I have an opinion to share:
McMillions is a far superior doc than Tiger King and deserves all the buzz.
- Rachael Horwitz (@RachaelRad) April 18, 2020
Hernandez continued: "This is such a massive thing where the dollar amount might not have been insane, but it was what they were able to pull off for the amount of time.
"Cal Kinnear, who is head of the FBI Jacksonville office, said to us that it was unimaginable that they kept this secret for over a decade.
"The more people you get involved, the more likely you are to get caught and yet they kept this under wraps for 12 years.
"It is a very large thing."
Lazarte added: "Oh, and it's McDonald's, right? The largest brand in the world being exposed in this way. The global impact of McDonald's adds to the significance and scale of this."
McMillions airs on Sky's new Sky Documentaries channel at 9PM tonight, and is available on NOW TV from today.
Featured Image Credit: HBO