Episode 200: Chris Graham – McDonald’s Monopoly Scam

Retired agent Chris Graham served in the FBI for 26 years. He began his career in the San Antonio office where he worked complex white collar crime cases including public corruption, health care fraud, telemarketing, and housing fraud. He later managed the national program for the FBI’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) program. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Chris reviews the investigation of the long-term compromise of McDonald’s Corporation’s promotional games, which utilized wiretaps, undercover operations, and detailed financial analysis. At the time, he was the White Collar Crime and Healthcare Fraud squad supervisor in Jacksonville Field Office.  The case, officially known as Operation Final Answer, is the subject of the HBO documentary series McMillion$. Chris Graham is prominently featured in the TV series.

During his career, Chris Graham was a member of SWAT and deployed to the 1993 Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas. In the months following the tragic events of 9/11, Chris Graham deployed to Egypt and later was chosen to open and run the first FBI office in Milan, Italy, handling FBI operations in Northern Italy for three years. Upon returning to the U.S., he specialized in terrorism cases, where he led several operational missions overseas and served on the GTMO Detainee Prosecution Task Force and conducted dozens of interviews of detained al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders and operatives.

In 2011 and 2012, SSA Graham served as the Unit Chief and Deputy Director of the FBI’s IPR Unit at the National IPR Center in Arlington, Virginia and supervised the international takedown of the Megaupload.com online piracy criminal enterprise.

His final FBI assignment was as the supervisor of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Jacksonville, Florida, where he returned to managed an active task force of FBI agents, investigators, police officers, analysts, and task force officers from federal, state and local agencies. Under his leadership, the JTTF accomplished national successes, including the investigation and subsequent prosecution of two extremists for material support to a terrorist organization.

Currently, Chris Graham is the Vice President for Security at the Macerich Company, an owner-operator of 50 premier shopping destinations around the country. Chris has asked that this episode be dedicated to Special Agent Melissa Morrow.

Special Agent (Retired)

Christopher Graham

August 1989—February 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The list of winners from McDonald’s confirmed that names provided by the informant were in fact winners. Now the case was really starting to firm up.”—Retired Agent Chris Graham

The following are links to articles and information about the Jacksonville Division’s Operation Final Answer, aka the McDonald’s Monopoly Scam and the McMillion$ HBO docu-series about the investigation:

FBI Press Release = 8/21/2001:  Eight Arrested for Defrauding McDonald’s Corp. and its Customers in Promotional Prize Contests

The Washington Times – 9/11/2001:  21 persons indicted in McDonald’s scam

Business Insider – 7/30/2018:  A former cop reportedly rigged McDonald’s Monopoly game to win almost every prize for 12 years in a $24 million scheme

McMillion$ – HBO:  A six-part documentary series, chronicles the stranger-than-fiction true story of how $24 million-dollars was stolen from the McDonald’s Monopoly game of the 1990s, the mystery mastermind behind the scam and the intrepid FBI agents on his trail.

In the McMillion$ Podcast Directors James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte take you even deeper into the story of a fraud ring that rigged the results of the McDonald’s Monopoly game, and how the FBI took it down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evidence from the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evidence from Operation Final Answer.

 

This organizational chart identifies the leaders, recruiters and “winners” involved in the McDonald’s Monopoly scam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 200 episodes available for free subscription on all popular podcast apps.

5 Comments

  1. Dervla TörnquistMay 4, 2020

    That was a great podcast to celebrate the 200th! I’ve started at the beginning and am listening to all your podcasts, they are really facinating. My sister who lives in Ireland and I in Sweden listen and discuss the cases. I think we would have loved to have been FBI agents, we were born on Long Island, 1957, ah what twists of fate brings us on other paths.
    A big thank you Jerri for all the entertainment you have brought us.

    Reply
    1. Jerri WilliamsMay 6, 2020

      Thanks for listening and for the well wishes!

      Reply
  2. AlexMay 1, 2020

    Chris Graham was one of the greatest supervisors of all time.
    His characterization of Mike Perkins was spot on. Mike was a phenomenal person, agent, and lawyer. But Chris is a person I would like to emulate in word and deed.
    Great story!
    Alex
    DBRA TFO 2007-2012

    Reply
    1. Jerri WilliamsMay 1, 2020

      It was my pleasure to speak with Chris about the case and his FBI career.

      Reply
    2. chris grahamMay 14, 2020

      Thanks Alex, that means a lot, especially coming from you. I hope you are well!.cg

      Reply

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