One of the biggest scams of all time is about to become a film. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have just bought the rights to the story of Jerome Jacobson, who embezzled 54 million dollars (42 million pounds) through the innocent game McDonald’s Monopoly.
McDonald’s regularly relaunches its flagship edition of the game Monopoly. Hundreds of gifts and pounds can be won through small tickets stuck onto the packaging of burgers, chips, and drinks. And every time customers stampede to try and bring back the top prize of 100,000 pounds. In the United States, the sum rockets to around a million dollars!
A game taken over by a ‘gang’ in the United States
Between 1995 and 2001, a man launched into a massive scam by diverting the funds he won from Monopoly. This man, Jerome Jacobson, worked for Simon Marketing, the company responsible for running the promotion. As the firm’s close confidant, he was in charge of sending the winning tickets to restaurants in the US. He began the scam by offering a ticket worth 25,000 dollars (20,000 pounds) to his stepbrother. But after sensing the potential,he began a cunning scam. To test the waters, he asked for 2000 dollars from a neighbour in exchange for a ticket worth 10,000 (7,800 pounds). A great deal!
One thing led to another, and Jerome Jacobson created a vast network in 6 states of the US. Over the next few years, this network extended further and the one who became known as ‘Uncle Jerry’ began to work with drug traffickers, gangsters and strip club owners. Altogether, he embezzled 54 million dollars (42 million pounds).
This scheme could have lasted much longer if an FBI agent hadn’t sniffed out the business. An informer revealed the existence of this incredible fraud to Richard Dent, who made it his mission to stop the scam. He led an investigation over a period of 6 years, collecting more and more overwhelming proof against the scammers. 50 were accused in total following the investigation. As for Uncle Jerry, he got 15 years in prison after pleading guilty and negotiating with the authorities.
A story fit for a film
If this juicy scam makes you think of a film, you're not the only one - Ben Affleck and Matt Damon felt it too! The two actors have just bought the rights to this story for 1 million dollars (783,000 pounds) from Daily Beast. The media channel published an article giving the details on July 28th this year. The two screenwriters of Deadpool - Paul Wernick and Reth Reese - have been taken on board to write the script.