What would you do to win a million dollars? McMillions is a docuseries that dives into the outrageous story of how an ex-cop rigged the McDonald’s Monopoly contest. The bizarre crime seems straight out of a movie. An ex-cop who then teams up with someone with mafia ties. There’s cheating, speculation, drama, and of course, McDonald’s. McMillions uncovers the case in six episodes as the people involved recount the story.
The Monopoly McDonald’s fraud happened when an ex-cop Jerome Jacobson, nicknamed “Uncle Jerry” gave winning pieces of the game to people to cash out. He created a fraud ring that spanned years with winners he picked giving him part of the winnings. Jacobson stole the winning pieces but eventually, the fraud began to crack when winners were from the same area or had a connection to each other. This led the FBI to catch Jacobson and everyone involved.
McMillions is Just as Crazy as You Would Think
McMillions starts from the start. From the tip that piqued the FBI’s interest to the arrest of the people involved. It becomes a bit of a roller coaster. The first episode sets you up for another fraud scheme but after that, you get whiplash from all the insane details and people that are part of this. It can feel a bit dragged out in the middle of the series but the filmmakers pack it with all the information they think you should know.
For a story that is outlandish, there are certainly eccentric players. FBI agent Doug Matthews is easily the best part of the docuseries. He was the one who discovered sticky note on his desk telling him about a potential McDonald’s scam. Matthews is the charismatic agent that was perfect for this case. Matthews even donned a gold suit to the first meeting with McDonald’s. But he’s only a part of it.
The docuseries has interviews with family members of Jacobson and Jerry Colombo, a few of the “winners” that wanted to share their story, and the FBI agents that were part of the case. Despite how crazy the story seems, it helps to see the human behind the name. “Winners” like Gloria Brown and George Chandler were the redeeming part of the situation pointing out that there were some good people who made a bad mistake.
The docuseries does dangle the carrot of how Uncle Jerry pulled this off until the last episode. Meaning if you’re super antsy that can be a bit frustrating. But it’s worth seeing all the people who were involved in the fraud, especially since most received sentences.
McMillions doesn’t take itself too seriously. The show is humorous and told in a witty way. It also has a podcast where they dive deeper to explain things that may not have been clear in the docuseries. Ben Affleck is also still developing a movie adaptation on the story.
McMillions is available for free as part of HBO’s #StayHomeBoxOffice programming.