Simon Calls Itself a Victim in McDonald's Scam

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Simon Worldwide Inc., the marketing firm tied to McDonald's game-promotions scandal that erupted last week, tried to quell any notion that its problems were widespread.


In a prepared statement last week, the Los Angeles-based company characterized itself as a victim of bad publicity because of the alleged acts of Jerome Jacobson, a security worker at Simon arrested along with seven others by the FBI.


Philip Morris USA and Kraft Foods both ended their marketing agreements with Simon last week, according to wire reports.


Those arrested are accused of stealing winning McDonald's meal game pieces and distributing them to associates who, in turn, recruited accomplices to claim the prizes illegally.


The FBI alleges that Jacobson and his recruits rigged the game promotions, which included McDonald's popular "Monopoly" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," and defrauded the fast-food chain of more than $13 million in prizes over the past six years. The recruits agreed to act as winners of various prizes and to share the winnings with Jacobson and his group, according to the FBI.


Simon's statement quoted Mark Devereaux, a Jacksonville, FL-based attorney who will head prosecution against Jacobson.


"We view Simon as a victim of one rogue employee and based on our investigation to date no other Simon employee was involved," said Devereaux, according to the statement. "Simon is not a subject or target of our investigation."


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