Growing up, my family and I were hardcore about collecting McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces. Every year, we were convinced we had a chance to win big, but it turns out that while we were honestly and humbly collecting our Monopoly pieces in accordance with the rules, one ex-cop was rigging the game so he could steal more than $24 million from the game over time.
The story goes something like this: One of the workers at the printing company that manufactured McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces figured out how to rig the game (along with the help of a few of his associates) to win every grand price for more than 12 years in a row. In the height of Monopoly hysteria, people were truly willing to go to any length to try to win the million-dollar grand prize or the $50,000 a year for 20 years prize. McDonald’s restaurant workers were even held at gunpoint and forced to turn over game pieces, and then came along ex-cop Jerome Jacobson.
Jacobson himself didn’t win all of the prizes. What he would do is sort of trade the game pieces printed by the company he worked at. He would make a deal with someone that he’d give them the winning piece, and they would give him the first $50,000 installment in return, for instance, or he would have people give him money up front in exchange for a piece.
It wasn’t until 2001 that the FBI caught Jacobson and the rest of us could finally trust that spending our hard-earned cash on McDoubles and McNuggets wasn’t as futile a pursuit as it seemed now that more of the prizes would actually be on the table for honest folks to win (though the odds are still outrageous).
After a bidding war for rights to the story, Hollywood BFFs Damon and Affleck, along with Fox, are now slated to create a movie based on the story of Jacobson’s scheme. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who wrote Deadpool, will be in charge of the script for the film. That means we can probably expect some witty exchanges and a tongue-in-cheek look at what went down.
Here’s just hoping the movie theater won’t notice when we try to smuggle in a Happy Meal as our snack once the film is finally released.