A scientist has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for planting a fried rat's tail in a McDonald's "Happy Meal."
Prosecutors said Michael Zanakis, 44, had hoped to extort $5 million from the fast-food chain. He was sentenced in federal court Thursday on a December conviction for mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion.Zanakis, of Harding, N.J., 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 for his son at a McDonald's in Port Jefferson Station on Jan. 15, 1996, prosecutors charged.
"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."