So Long, and Thanks for All the Value Meals

A cardboard soda cup from McDonald's sits on top of a black garbage can, surrounded by cigarette butts
Photo by Gwenael Piaser via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

All that time you spent trying to find a Boardwalk game piece on your McDonald’s fries was a waste: between 1989 and 2001, “Uncle Jerry” diverted over $24 million in cash and prizes from McDonald’s super-popular “Monopoly” promotion. The loot went to friends and family members, drug traffickers and strip-club owners, psychics and convicts and Mormons — all in exchange for a portion of the winnings. Jeff Maysh unravels the entire massive conspiracy in a piece at The Daily Beast.

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.

Who was Uncle Jerry? The man responsible for the security of the highest-value game pieces.

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