Who Tipped off the FBI About the McMillion$ Scam?

HBO documentary series will (hopefully) reveal all on March 9

My grandpa used to joke about how great the odds were for even winning $1,000, let alone $1,000,000. Thirty-odd years later, it turns out nobody was ever going win the big purse from the McDonald’s Monopoly game, as the riveting HBO documentary miniseries McMillion$ explains.

During its run from 1987 to 2001, there was nothing more exciting in the world of fast food than that Monopoly game, where they took the premise of the beloved Atlantic City real estate board game into an annual peel-away sweepstakes with prizes that ranged from a free small bag of fries to $1,000,000 if you got the game pieces to Park Place and/or Boardwalk, which was essentially unicorn status.


Like most of you currently watching McMillion$ unfold, I’m viewing in real time and waiting until the final episode reveals in regards to this true-crime rollercoaster of a viewing experience. So forgive my ambiguity in an effort to be spoiler-free.

But the gist of the show is this: A six-part documentary series from Executive Producer Mark Wahlberg chronicling the story of how a criminal syndicate stole $24 million dollars from McDonald’s Monopoly, and the strange game of cat and mouse between the scam’s mastermind and FBI agents, led by the fascinatingly hyperactive gumshoe Doug Mathews, unspooling the miasma of cover-ups, lies, and innuendo while hot on his trail.

Under the elaborate scheme of “Uncle Jerry,” the criminals were stealing and the biggest winning tickets and selling them to undeserving winners through a complex web of family and friends, all of whom became co-conspirators and unwitting accessories to the crime. An anonymous tip to the FBI in 2001 triggered the unlikely unfolding of this madcap caper detailed across five episodes already. Now we anticipate the finale on March 9th, leaving us with two major questions: How exactly was “Uncle Jerry” able to acquire all those winning game pieces? And, most importantly, who was it that tipped off the Feds to these McDonaldland shenanigans?

Frank Colombo, the brother of the other Jerry in this saga, the late Jerry Colombo–a Florida raconteur whose involvement in the Monopoly job cost him his life–throws a little shade that it could be him, stating nothing would have happened without the informant. Meanwhile, Jerry C’s widow Robin Colombo, the clear star of the series, openly cites her brother-in-law as the bird on the wire here. McMillion$ will reveal all soon enough.

As bingeworthy as it may be, though, McMillion$ has an insane amount of moving parts to the story, which requires your full attention. This is not a show to have on while doing something else by any means. But once you tumble down its Hamburglar spiral side of drama and intrigue, it is, indeed, must-watch TV.

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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the editor of Rock And Roll Globe. He still listens to music on CD.

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