A doctor was convicted Monday of trying to extort $5 million from McDonald’s by planting a fried rat’s tail in a Happy Meal he bought for his son.
Michael F. Zanakis took a rat’s tail from the medical research laboratory where he worked, had it fried and then placed it in a package of french fries he bought at a Long Island McDonald’s on Jan. 15, 1996, federal prosecutors said.
“He planted the tail and thought he would get away with it,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Leonard Lato. “The next day he was on the phone with McDonald’s. We had him on tape demanding money.”
A federal jury convicted Zanakis, of Harding, N.J., of three counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud and two counts of extortion for the scheme targeting McDonald’s and Tri-Mac Management Inc., which owned the franchise restaurant.