A Supersized Conspiracy: How One Man Rigged The McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Won $24 Million

When McDonald’s launched its Monopoly game in 1987, customers flocked to the fast-food chain. For the first time, they could collect the board game pieces to win prizes ranging from free Filet-O-Fish sandwiches to Dodge Vipers and Jamaican vacations. The grand prize that everyone wanted though was a crisp $1 million.

But everyday McDonald’s customers never really stood a chance. That’s because one man rigged the system and crafted an elaborate plan to win millions of dollars. Learn the story of how Jerome Jacobson pulled one over on McDonald’s and the American public.

Jerome Jacobson Always Wanted To Be a Cop, But His Dream Was Cut Short

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1943, Jerome Jacobson had wanted to be a police officer since he was just a kid. His dream became a reality when he was sworn into Florida’s Hollywood Police Department in 1976. But Jacobson’s career was short-lived. In 1980, while on medical leave for an injured wrist, he collapsed with severe, widespread paralysis and was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder.

police chief on guard
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jacobson took a leave of absence from the department while his wife, Marsha, took care of him around the clock. But because he was unable to return to his job, the police department fired him. Jacobson seemed like a trustworthy guy with a background in law enforcement.