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Giant Misfit

S01.E03: Episode 3

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Airs February 17, 2020

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Frank Colombo, the brother of Gennaro "Jerry" Colombo, reveals the inner workings of the scam whereby "Uncle Jerry" would sell the winning tickets to Colombo for a premium. He would then find willing takers for the game tickets in exchange for a cut of the prize money. Under the pretense of organizing a reunion for past winners, the FBI video crew interviews Gloria Brown, a million-dollar "winner" in South Carolina, who tries to obscure her past in Jacksonville and the origins of her ticket.

 

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Tremendously sad segment tonight. Gloria (I think that was her name)--she was brought in not even because they were close to her or whatever. She was brought in to make it look good. They needed women,  they needed people of color. And for all that, she had to mortgage her house. She had to meet this piece of shit--this criminal, who had dragged her into this crap--and hand over money she didn't have. Money she'd mined out of her house.

Watching her tell her story--shaking, trembling--was very upsetting.

Mobsters are such scum. All they do is take and take and take. Seeing them lionized in the popular media really bothers me.

What the hell happened at the end?

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6 hours ago, CeeBeeGee said:

What the hell happened at the end?

Looked like a car wreck

 

Edited by JJ1

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4 hours ago, CeeBeeGee said:

Gloria (I think that was her name)--she was brought in not even because they were close to her or whatever. She was brought in to make it look good. They needed women,  they needed people of color. And for all that, she had to mortgage her house.

God, that pissed me off so much. They did her so, so dirty. My heart broke for her. It doesn't surprise me that she was on high alert during that faux "meet the winners" interview. After all she'd been through up to that point, how could she not be extra suspicious and on guard, really? I'm honestly impressed at how she managed to keep up the facade as long as she did. Most people would've crumbled pretty fast under that kind of pressure. 

And then that ending. I was thinking that somebody would pull up and shoot at the car, so I actually gasped when what did happen happened. 

That Colombo guy is a real piece of work. The Church of the Fuzzy Bunny. I can't even.... That takes some serious balls, that does. And then his brother's there in his interview segments being all, "Oh, he was just trying to make a legitimate business for once!"...dude, I know he's your brother and all, but seriously, fuck him, okay? I think what he did with that "church", and everything with the club before that, was shitty, too, just for different reasons than the more religious folks in that area did. 

This story just continues to get more and more insane. I really hope there's good news about the little boy, at least. 

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My heart broke for Gloria. She was in the hole right from the start of this scheme, and right through to the end — she never even got to enjoy the (stolen) money.

I believe her when she said she had to go through with it because “she knew too much.” And I’m not surprised her guard was up at the “interview,” it did feel like an interrogation at some points.

Wow, what a surprise ending to this episode. Although, Robin can miss me with single-glistening-tear-rolling-down-the-cheek business. She and Doug sure know how to play up a story in the retelling. 😒

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I feel bad for Gloria to a point.  Same for the airline employee Mob Jerry befriended. They were put in worse financial difficulties after their “wins”, but they both (and all the other “winners”) made the choice to participate in a shady and criminal enterprise.  There are not very many shortcuts to getting rich, and the ones offered up by someone who tells you he “knows a guy...”should be the ones you run from.  Of course Jerry Colombo and Uncle Jerry were going to make money off the saps they suckered into the sham.  Members of the mafia may be portrayed as uneducated or even dumb, but they are not stupid when it comes to coming out on top, especially when money is the motivation! 
 

I also don’t feel too bad for Colombo’s wife (or as I call her, “Red Robin”).  She knew she was marrying in the mob.

While I was watching this, my husband walked in while Red Robin was on.  He said”My GOD!! Is that the girl from Jersey Shore?!? Snooky??”

Edited by BusyOctober
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12 hours ago, link417 said:

I believe her when she said she had to go through with it because “she knew too much.” And I’m not surprised her guard was up at the “interview,” it did feel like an interrogation at some points.

Quite a contrast to last week's episode where the Feds were congratulating themselves about how slick and convincing they were.  That line of questioning they took with Gloria would have made anyone suspicious.

The least Colombo could have done is take his share after the taxes were paid.  He walked away with $25,000 (a year) tax free.  And Gloria had to pay the taxes on the whole $50,000, which only left her with $10,000.  "Million dollar winner" sounds great, but I wouldn't put up with that aggravation for $10,000 a year.  You couldn't even live at the poverty level for that.

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23 hours ago, CeeBeeGee said:

Watching her tell her story--shaking, trembling--was very upsetting.

When it's just McDonald's being ripped off, yeah I don't care that much. Boo hoo. When you're taking from people that are on hard times, I'm not down. 

To be fair, you can't con an honest person. There was a part of her that said she deserved it too. Don't tell me you hang out with Columbo and not get the gist of what he's about. Maybe only 1% is on her, but still. 

Just down from the Fairgrounds is exactly where you would find the Fuzzy Bunny. 

Good work on 'Red Robin.'

 

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15 minutes ago, DoctorAtomic said:

To be fair, you can't con an honest person. There was a part of her that said she deserved it too. Don't tell me you hang out with Columbo and not get the gist of what he's about. Maybe only 1% is on her, but still. 

Yeah, I do give her credit for acknowledging she'd screwed up getting involved with these people. It's clear she's very embarrassed about falling for that con as she did. Had it not been the mob she'd gotten hooked up with, I think she might've backed out sooner, but in this case, once she was in, well... 

I also felt for her when she was talking about how this interview would be the first time her family would even hear about all she'd been through. I imagine that's got to be a little scary to think about. Hopefully they'll be understanding enough about it all. 

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29 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

Yeah, I do give her credit for acknowledging she'd screwed up getting involved with these people. It's clear she's very embarrassed about falling for that con as she did. Had it not been the mob she'd gotten hooked up with, I think she might've backed out sooner, but in this case, once she was in, well... 

Yeah clearly that's going to be a situation where you know you in it deep. It's not like the mafia loses. 

She pinged the commercial / interview was fake right off the bat though. 

Frank's wife is killing me though - eh, I didn't really think the church was that big a deal. 

Edited by DoctorAtomic
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37 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

Yeah, I do give her credit for acknowledging she'd screwed up getting involved with these people.

Yeah, anyone can make a mistake or fall into temptation.  I'm sure if she knew what was coming she would have bowed out.  The way her "friend" wanted to "help her out" with throwing a ticket her way was pretty dubious.

It must have been difficult living that lifestyle.  Here she was a million dollar winner, but she probably couldn't even buy a new car with what she was getting.  She could have gotten a loan but she had already taken money out on her mortgage, I wonder how long it took her to pay that back.  They never did say how much it was IIRC.

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3 hours ago, rmontro said:

It must have been difficult living that lifestyle.  Here she was a million dollar winner, but she probably couldn't even buy a new car with what she was getting.  She could have gotten a loan but she had already taken money out on her mortgage, I wonder how long it took her to pay that back.  They never did say how much it was IIRC.

I think in the podcast after this episode in which she was a guest, she said that Columbo was asking for like 100 to 125K for the million dollar ticket and she had to take the mortgage out to pay him off for the initial payment.

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On another note, I thought it was crappy that McDonalds pays off the 1 million in $50 thousand interest-free increments over the course of 20 years. While it’s a nice supplement to your life and all to get an extra 25k annually (after you pay the taxes on it), it’s not like you can quit your job or live the high life. At least the lottery gives a lump sum option. 

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On 2/18/2020 at 12:36 PM, BusyOctober said:

 

I feel bad for Gloria to a point.  Same for the airline employee Mob Jerry befriended. They were put in worse financial difficulties after their “wins”, but they both (and all the other “winners”) made the choice to participate in a shady and criminal enterprise.  There are not very many shortcuts to getting rich, and the ones offered up by someone who tells you he “knows a guy...”should be the ones you run from.  Of course Jerry Colombo and Uncle Jerry we’re going to make money off the spas they suckered into the sham.  Members of the mafia may be portrayed as uneducated or even dumb, but they are not stupid when it comes to coming out on top, especially when money is the motivation! 

I didn’t have sympathy for her initially but that changed the farther she got into the story. She had a mob boss who wouldn’t leave her alone for more than a few minutes, who drove her to claim the prize and interrogated her when it took too long. I am an honest person but I’m not sure I would have said no in that situation. She really never even had a chance to change her mind. I do think that I would have gone to someone for help but I come from a very different socioeconomic background than her. He targeted vulnerable women who he could intimidate. Now I’m not saying that she didn’t deserve the legal consequences but she has suffered more than enough. 

9 hours ago, marny said:

On another note, I thought it was crappy that McDonalds pays off the 1 million in $50 thousand interest-free increments over the course of 20 years. While it’s a nice supplement to your life and all to get an extra 25k annually (after you pay the taxes on it), it’s not like you can quit your job or live the high life. At least the lottery gives a lump sum option. 

That’s pretty standard for those type of sweepstakes. At least the cash prizes give you the ability to pay off the taxes. People who win houses and cars are often completely screwed and forced to sell their “prize” just to pay the tax bill. 

Edited by Dani
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On 2/19/2020 at 3:00 AM, nilyank said:

I think in the podcast after this episode in which she was a guest, she said that Columbo was asking for like 100 to 125K for the million dollar ticket and she had to take the mortgage out to pay him off for the initial payment.

So even if there was no interest on the loan, and she borrowed $100,000 for 20 years, she'd have to pay $5000 a year on the loan.  Which cuts her winning share in half and left her with $5000 a year.

Which brings up the question:  Since Colombo had already been paid $100,000 up front, why was he taking half the annual $50,000 every year?  I guess the mob always gets paid first.

On 2/19/2020 at 7:41 AM, marny said:

On another note, I thought it was crappy that McDonalds pays off the 1 million in $50 thousand interest-free increments over the course of 20 years. While it’s a nice supplement to your life and all to get an extra 25k annually (after you pay the taxes on it), it’s not like you can quit your job or live the high life. At least the lottery gives a lump sum option. 

It would be nice to have the option of taking the payments or the lump sum.  But I'd be happy to receive a free $50,000 a year.  Even though yeah you wouldn't be living the high life and it wouldn't really be the kind of image being a million dollar winner conjures up.    

Getting the payments spread out also decreases the total amount of taxes you would have to pay, because you are at a lower rate.  Not sure when all this happened exactly, but if it was back in the 90s it would have been more feasible to live well on $50,000 a year. 

Edited by rmontro
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2 hours ago, Dani said:

I do think that I would have gone to someone for help but I come from a very different socioeconomic background than her. He targeted vulnerable women who he could intimidate.

Mmhm. When you're struggling financially, it's very easy to get to that point of being so desperate for money that you'll take any offer that comes along. Even if you know, in the back of your mind, it's not the wisest one. I've never gotten caught up in that kind of scheme and have no interest in doing so, but given my family's own financial struggles, I totally understand where one might at the very least consider such an offer. 

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Okay, just to clarify. When Robin is talking about "Uncle Jerry" she's talking about Jerry Jacobson and not her husband. So Jerry Jacobson asked her to marry her? 

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5 hours ago, Glory said:

So Jerry Jacobson asked her to marry her? 

When that happened, I thought Uncle Jerry was trying to salvage the situation with her wanting to leave Jerome and threatening to blow the whistle on the whole operation.  Like if she left Jerome, Uncle Jerry could bring her into his camp, and they would all be safe and she wouldn't rat them out.

But it appears Uncle Jerry really wanted to get some hanky panky going with her, judging by Jerome's reaction.

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4 hours ago, meep.meep said:

Red Robin was married to Gennaro Colombo, not Jerome.

Okay thanks, I either missed that or forgot it.  But the theory still applies, even though it was wrong too  🙂

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On 2/21/2020 at 3:17 PM, meep.meep said:

Red Robin was married to Gennaro Colombo, not Jerome.

But both were called Jerry.  It's easy to get confused. Even the interviewer stopped her a couple of times to clarify which Jerry she was talking about.  

I really recommend reading the Daily Beast article that has been mentioned before.  (Just Google "daily beast mcdonalds scam" and it should come up. )  It appears they've "unlocked" the article in connection with the show airing, so it may disappear in a few weeks.  If you don't want to be spoiled, just read up to the car crash (yes, that was a car crash at the end of Ep 3).  It's a really complicated story, I still didn't understand all of the scams after reading the article (and there are a lot of people involved), but I think the show will balance the article and fill in some blanks for me. 

Edited by Quilt Fairy
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I felt horrible for Gloria

I am not sure she really made ANY money of this.  At least the first five years. 

She gets $50K a year

She pays him $25K a year, did they say the first five years only?  That's before taxes

Her mortgage went up $700 a month or $8400 a year to do this

She paid taxes, probably 30% of it based on her salary plus the 50K a year.  That is $15K.  Not even sure about state and local taxes but just a rough estimate. 

25K + 15K + 8400K =  48400. 

Even if she paid 20% in taxes, makes it 10K, so she made like $6K a year off this. 

Yes it was mistake to get involved, but she was a poor single mom and saw a chance to get ahead.  And once she realized she really didn't want to do it, there was no way out.  Not like you can tell the mob you changed your mind.   He completed used her and placed most of the risk on her as well.  I hope she did not get jail time or serious trouble for this, will be curious to see how it turns our for her. 

But the story is still fascinating. 

Jesus, the Fuzzy Bunny Church?  That is his idea of a "legitimate" business, a strip club he has to make a church to get it opened?  And then his brother is defending him of course.  "He is trying to do the right thing for once!!"  No, not really. 

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9 hours ago, DrSpaceman73 said:

 

I felt horrible for Gloria

I am not sure she really made ANY money of this.  At least the first five years. 

She gets $50K a year

She pays him $25K a year, did they say the first five years only?  That's before taxes

Her mortgage went up $700 a month or $8400 a year to do this

She paid taxes, probably 30% of it based on her salary plus the 50K a year.  That is $15K.  Not even sure about state and local taxes but just a rough estimate. 

25K + 15K + 8400K =  48400. 

 

Your figures are the same as they showed in the episode. She never had a chance to benefit. She won in 1997 and the FBI discovered it in 2001. 

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On 2/24/2020 at 12:24 PM, DrSpaceman73 said:

 

Jesus, the Fuzzy Bunny Church?  That is his idea of a "legitimate" business, a strip club he has to make a church to get it opened?  And then his brother is defending him of course.  "He is trying to do the right thing for once!!"  No, not really. 

Actually this made me laugh.  He opened a legit (strip clubs are legal even if you don’t like them)business but the town didn’t want him there and started messing with him so he messed back by changing the name to conform to laws so he could reopen.   

I liked the brother the first time he appeared but now I find him sketchy. 

Edited by Tdoc72
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I think I'd read the article back around when it came out. Then this popped up on Hulu because I guess we're getting free HBO access. My wife had never heard about the scam so was interested in watching.

I do feel bad for Gloria and the flight attendant (although Gloria's justificaiton- "this was my blessing," look, god may work in mysterious ways but I don't think he'd do it through a mobster), but the one I'm really watching is Frank's wife. Frank seems relaxed and happy to talk (maybe a little too happy- I'm expecting ending title cards to talk about his mysterious disappearance), but Frank's wife seems very nervous, shaky, uncomfortable. There are a few times where she talks and seems okay, but mostly she looks like she wants to be anywhere else.

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1 hour ago, AheadofStraight said:

Any Ozark watchers out there?

Yeah, probably, but it was in and of itself a legitimate business. It happened to be one that used cash. 

1 hour ago, srhall79 said:

god may work in mysterious ways but I don't think he'd do it through a mobster

Honestly that would be the best fortune cookie ever. 

The first rule of the con is - you can't con an honest person. It's not like Gloria was completely in the dark here. 

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