Industry News | August 21, 2001

McDonald’s Games Subject of FBI Investigation

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McDonald’s popular "Monopoly"and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" promotions are the subject of an on-going FBI investigation and eight subsequent arrests.

According to Reuters, the accused, all linked to Simon Marketing, Inc., the company responsible for game security, were arrested on charges of mail fraud. Reuters reported on August 21 that "[The FBI] said that [a Simon Marketing employee]…embezzled winning game pieces and gave them to friends and associates who recruited other participants to act as the winners, agreeing to share the prizes…" The illegal activity may have been ongoing since 1995.

McDonald’s has terminated its professional relationship with Simon, and plans to establish an internal task force to prevent similar events in the future. Recognizing that the stolen prize money—totaling roughly $10 million—was in effect taken from legitimate McDonald’s customers, the chain will hold an instant giveaway promotion in September. Five $1 million prizes will be awarded, as well as fifty $100,000 prizes.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.