Federal authorities indicted 12 more people last week accused of complicity in a $20 million scam involving the rigging of McDonald's prize contests.
The U.S. Attorney's Office charged the new suspects Nov. 8 with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. They face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines if found guilty.
In total, 33 people have been indicted, including eight who were arrested when the fraud was made public in August. Eight of the 33 have since pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, the Associated Press reported.
According to the charges, Jerome Jacobson, a security employee of Simon Marketing, which ran the McDonald's promotional contests, stole winning game pieces from his place of employment. Jacobson then distributed them to friends and associates to claim the prizes, investigators said.
McDonald's ended its relationship with Simon Marketing, a division of Simon Worldwide, shortly after the scam became public. The two companies have since sued each other over the fallout of the scandal. McDonald's accused Simon Marketing of fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary obligations and civil conspiracy. Simon Marketing claimed it has lost several clients, including Philip Morris Co., in the wake of the scam.