Canada Kicks Ass
McScam: How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game

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xerxes @ Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:07 pm

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-an-ex-cop-rigged-mcdonalds-monopoly-game-and-stole-millions

Quote:
On August 3, 2001, a McDonald’s film crew arrived in the bustling beach town of Westerly, Rhode Island. They carried their cameras and a giant cashier’s check to a row of townhouses, and knocked on the door of Michael Hoover. The 56-year-old bachelor had called a McDonald’s hotline to say he’d won their Monopoly competition. Since 1987, McDonald’s customers had feverishly collected Monopoly game pieces attached to drink cups, french fry packets and advertising inserts in magazines. By completing groups of properties like Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, players won cash or a Sega Game Gear, while “Instant Win” game pieces scored a free Filet-O-Fish or a Jamaican vacation. But Hoover, a casino pit boss who had recently filed for bankruptcy, claimed he’d won the grand prize–$1 million dollars.

Like winning the Powerball, the odds of Hoover’s win were 1 in 250 million. There were two ways to win the Monopoly grand prize: find the “Instant Win” game piece like Hoover, or match Park Place with the elusive Boardwalk to choose between a heavily-taxed lump sum or $50,000 checks every year for 20 years. Just like the Monopoly board game, which was invented as a warning about the destructive nature of greed, players traded game pieces to win, or outbid each other on eBay. Armed robbers even held up restaurants demanding Monopoly tickets. “Don’t go to jail! Go to McDonald’s and play Monopoly for real!” cried Rich Uncle Pennybags, the game’s mustachioed mascot, on TV commercials that sent customers flocking to buy more food. Monopoly quickly became the company’s most lucrative marketing device since the Happy Meal.

Inside Hoover’s home, Amy Murray, a loyal McDonald’s spokesperson, encouraged him to tell the camera about the luckiest moment of his life. Nervously clutching his massive check, Hoover said he’d fallen asleep on the beach. When he bent over to wash off the sand, his People magazine fell into the sea. He bought another copy from a grocery store, he said, and inside was an advertising insert with the “Instant Win” game piece. The camera crew listened patiently to his rambling story, silently recognizing the inconsequential details found in stories told by liars. They suspected that Hoover was not a lucky winner, but part of a major criminal conspiracy to defraud the fast food chain of millions of dollars. The two men behind the camera were not from McDonald’s. They were undercover agents from the FBI.

This was a McSting.

At the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office in Florida, Special Agent Richard Dent added the Hoover videotape to his growing pile of evidence. Sandy-haired and highly-organized, Dent was a 13-year veteran of the Bureau, who spent his days investigating public corruption and bank fraud. But in the last 12 months his desk had filled with fast food paraphernalia. Leaflets for “Pick Your Prize Monopoly” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” described McDonald’s games played in 14 countries. He read small print that revealed how the odds were stacked against the customer: McDonald’s makes one piece from each set of properties extremely rare, so while thousands have three of the four railroads, the odds of pulling the Short Line Railroad—and winning a PT Cruiser—were 1 in 150 million.

Dent’s investigation had started in 2000, when a mysterious informant called the FBI and claimed that McDonald’s games had been rigged by an insider known as “Uncle Jerry.” The person revealed that “winners” paid Uncle Jerry for stolen game pieces in various ways. The $1 million winners, for example, passed the first $50,000 installment to Uncle Jerry in cash. Sometimes Uncle Jerry would demand cash up front, requiring winners to mortgage their homes to come up with the money. According to the informant, members of one close-knit family in Jacksonville had claimed three $1 million dollar prizes and a Dodge Viper.


Right off the bat I will include a trigger warning that this is a long read of an article.

Nevertheless, it's worth it as it's both fascinating and ludicrous the ways this one guy scammed McDonald's for over a decade.

   



Sunnyways @ Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:58 pm

Great story - the right (or wrong) guy in the right place, highly placed, arrogant, and with a talent for deception, reminiscent of the moles prized by intelligence agencies like Kim Philby or Stakeknife.

   



Thanos @ Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:09 pm

I only regret not being cunning enough to think these things up for myself. :twisted:

   



BeaverFever @ Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:45 pm

Awesome read! Never knew this story. It was doomed to fail though. The need to constantly bring bew people into the fold and human nature being what it is made the downfall inevitable though. The infighting and snitching and double crossing was bound to happen and then the culprits made themselves easy to catch by refusing to follow simple but key instructions like going on TV when they were explicitly told not to.

   



BartSimpson @ Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:27 am

Quote:
During that 1995 prize draw, something happened that would change the game. According to Jacobson, when the computerized prize draw selected a factory location in Canada, Simon Marketing executives re-ran the program until it chose an area in the USA. Jacobson claimed he was ordered to ensure that no high-level prizes ever reached the Great White North.


Fucking McDonald's hates Canada. :evil:

   



bootlegga @ Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:31 pm

Great read!

   



xerxes @ Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:14 pm

BartSimpson wrote:
Quote:
During that 1995 prize draw, something happened that would change the game. According to Jacobson, when the computerized prize draw selected a factory location in Canada, Simon Marketing executives re-ran the program until it chose an area in the USA. Jacobson claimed he was ordered to ensure that no high-level prizes ever reached the Great White North.


Fucking McDonald's hates Canada. :evil:


Totally. I read that and I was like

Image

   



xerxes @ Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:09 pm

There's a documentary series that has been done about this sordid affair and it premiered Monday night on HBO.



Watched the first episode it was really good. The filmmakers have done a good job of taking what could a dry recitation of how the FBI methodically hunted these crooks down, but livened it up.

Especially one of the main FBI investigators who is a commensurate storyteller in his own right. You know when you see cops and detectives interviewed on TV and they're very dry and measured in their interviews? This one guy isn't and he is very entertaining as he describes how they first got into the case and how they tracked people down.

I totally recommend it.

   



Freakinoldguy @ Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:41 pm

BartSimpson wrote:
Quote:
During that 1995 prize draw, something happened that would change the game. According to Jacobson, when the computerized prize draw selected a factory location in Canada, Simon Marketing executives re-ran the program until it chose an area in the USA. Jacobson claimed he was ordered to ensure that no high-level prizes ever reached the Great White North.


Fucking McDonald's hates Canada. :evil:


McDonald's hates everyone or they wouldn't be serving that crap they call food.


Thankfully the last thing I went into a McDonalds for was a leak. I actually think I can count on both hands the number of times I've ever eaten at that cesspool of fast food in my rather lengthy lifetime.

   



CDN_PATRIOT @ Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:58 pm

I can't find fault in a man for finding a way to win a game beat the system, when the system is a multi-billion dollar corporation that rigged the game in the first place.

-J.

   



Thanos @ Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:03 pm

CDN_PATRIOT wrote:
I can't find fault in a man for finding a way to win a game beat the system, when the system is a multi-billion dollar corporation that rigged the game in the first place.

-J.


I'd shake the hand of the guy who succeeds in ripping off the Canada Lottery company. When they rake in that kind of money for every 649 and Max draw and can't even give out a measly $100 for someone who gets four numbers out of six/seven then they deserve to get taken. There's no way to justify how low the secondary prizes have been for the lotteries in this country.

   



DrCaleb @ Thu Feb 06, 2020 6:44 am

Thanos wrote:
When they rake in that kind of money for every 649 and Max draw and can't even give out a measly $100 for someone who gets four numbers out of six/seven then they deserve to get taken. There's no way to justify how low the secondary prizes have been for the lotteries in this country.


It makes sense if you think of lotteries as taxes for people bad at statistics. They want to keep as much of the revenue as possible, so low payout on low probability winnings makes sense.

   



raydan @ Thu Feb 06, 2020 6:56 am

Canadian lotteries pay out about 45% of sales in prizes. If prizes are not won, they will add some at one point during the year.

That being said, the best way to win is to not play. :wink:

   



CDN_PATRIOT @ Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:08 am

Thanos wrote:
I'd shake the hand of the guy who succeeds in ripping off the Canada Lottery company. When they rake in that kind of money for every 649 and Max draw and can't even give out a measly $100 for someone who gets four numbers out of six/seven then they deserve to get taken. There's no way to justify how low the secondary prizes have been for the lotteries in this country.


Right on! The lotteries are the biggest scams out there! You can have three or four numbers, but it equates to pretty much nothing. I used to play Lottario once a week for several years ($1.00 a week wasn't a big expenditure), mainly because less people play and you have a higher chance of winning with the better odds. The biggest I ever won off that lottery was $5.00!

As for 6/49 and Lotto Max.... I have never even won so much as a lousy free ticket! Stopped playing lotteries because of this nonsense. Then of course you see articles about people who win two or three times, or the story of the eight or nine people that won a 6/49 draw a few years ago here in Ontario. They all had annual salaries of $80,000, won $1.2 million each, and kept their jobs. They even went so far as to say, "We're gonna keep playing the lottery here at work, as we'll have more money to put into the pool."

Disgusting. All lotteries do is make the rich richer. I want no more part of that garbage.

-J.

   



DrCaleb @ Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:41 am

CDN_PATRIOT wrote:
Disgusting. All lotteries do is make the rich richer. I want no more part of that garbage.

-J.


You know that all Lotteries are run by Government, and all Revenue goes into Government - right?

   



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