“McDonald’s ran the Monopoly game for years, but no one knew the truth about the game being played. No one.” That’s the eery opening line to the hit HBO docu-series McMillions, a six-part feature that tells the story of the multi-million dollar fraudsters who turned McDonald’s into a cash cow in the 1990s. The super-sized documentary program recently debuted its final episode, meaning the series is now available in full on HBONow, so if you’ve finished Tiger King and you’re ready for the next true-crime tale, this could be the ticket.
McMillions is an incredible tale of fraud, loopholes and fast-food that explains how some crafty players were able to swing the McDonald’s Monopoly campaign in their favour. In the game, you must collect stickers, mainly from McDonald’s food packages, which represent assets from the game. Once you had enough, the stickers could be used in combination on a board to earn prizes. Those prizes — ranging from a McDonald’s food item to cars to large sums of money — also came via instant-winning stickers. But despite the simplicity of the game, FBI officer Doug Matthews reveals that between “1989 to 2001, there were almost no legitimate winners of the high-value game pieces in the McDonald’s Monopoly game”. So, how did fraudsters get away with more than $24 million?
With twists and turns at every step, McMillions is an all-out fast-food war. From espionage to inside-jobs, to the return of the McRib, nothing is off-limits in this fast-paced docu-series. Directed by James Hernandez and Brian Lazarte, McMillions also counts Mark Wahlberg among its producers, so you know it’s worth the price of admission. A high-level fraud documentary series set in the ‘Golden Arches’? I don’t know about you, but I’m lovin’ it.