McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD) yesterday thanked and congratulated the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice for their investigation that led to the arrest of a suspected criminal ring that has been charged with stealing high-level McDonald’s game prizes.
According to the FBI, no current or former McDonald’s employees, or franchisees were implicated in the compromised promotions. The criminal ring was allegedly led by the security director for Simon Marketing, Inc., the outside company responsible for game security.
“Quite simply, this office could not have built the strong case we now have against the subjects without McDonald’s cooperation and support,” said Thomas Kneir, F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge from the Jacksonville, FL bureau. “This case is an excellent example of how cooperation between corporate America and the FBI can work to protect the American people from those who would victimize them for their own selfish gains. In this case, McDonald’s was the consummate ‘good corporate citizen’ and for this we thank you.”
“Customer confidence is at the very heart of McDonald’s business,” said McDonald’s Chairman and CEO Jack M. Greenberg. “We’re determined that nothing gets between us and our customers, and we’re outraged when anyone tries to breach that trust. Once the FBI contacted us, we agreed immediately to cooperate fully with them in an effort to ensure our customer interests were protected. And today, we are pleased to see this objective accomplished.”
Mr. Greenberg also thanked the hard-working investigators and pledged the company’s continuing support to the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecution team. “Their professionalism and diligence throughout this investigation have been a credit to America’s law enforcement community. Let me underscore the point that this is an on-going investigation, and McDonald’s is fully committed to providing our continuing assistance and cooperation to the FBI.”
Additionally, McDonald’s announced several action steps related to this investigation, including:
McDonald’s 2001 Instant Give-Away
“Even though millions of McDonald’s customers legitimately won prizes over the years, this criminal enterprise has been charged with stealing many of the highest value prizes from our customers, and that is completely unacceptable,” said Greenberg. “To right this wrong, we are announcing today the opportunity for McDonald’s customers to participate in an instant give- away from August 30 through September 3, 2001, to win cash prizes valued at $10 million.”
During the five-day period, 55 major cash prizes — five $1,000,000 prizes and fifty $100,000 prizes — will be given away at randomly selected McDonald’s restaurants. To reach customers with news of the McDonald’s 2001 Instant Give-Away, McDonald’s will be publishing newspaper ads on Wednesday, August 22, 2001. Full details of McDonald’s 2001 Instant Give-Away will be available today on McDonald’s website, www.mcdonalds.com and will be posted in McDonald’s restaurants from August 30 to September 3, 2001.
“McDonald’s is committed to giving our customers a chance to win every dollar that has been stolen by this criminal ring,” said Greenberg. “This initial $10 million give-away is the first important step towards fulfilling this commitment. When the FBI concludes its investigation and ultimately determines the total amount stolen, we will announce plans to give our customers an opportunity to win any additional dollars taken.”
Independent Security Task Force
In order to ensure the integrity of future promotions and protect its customers, McDonald’s announced the creation of an independent task force to review all procedures for future promotions. “We’re particularly pleased that Dan K. Webb, former U. S. Attorney, Northern District of IL, and Chicago partner at the law firm of Winston & Strawn, has agreed to chair this security task force,” said Greenberg. “The task force will include leading independent anti-fraud and game security experts and is charged with scrutinizing our promotion processes to identify the ideal mix of checks, balances and oversight to ensure the integrity of future promotions.”
McDonald’s Terminates Supplier
Separately, McDonald’s announced that it is terminating its relationship with Simon Marketing. “Given the duration of the alleged conspiracy, the lack of any meaningful oversight and the magnitude of the losses, it was the only responsible course of action,” said Greenberg.
McDonald’s is the world’s leading food service retailer with nearly 29,000 restaurants in 121 countries serving 45 million people each day.
Statement from Jack M. Greenberg Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
FBI Arrests Suspected Criminal Ring Charged With Stealing High Level
McDonald’s Game Prizes
Today’s arrests are a powerful reminder that McDonald’s will never let anything get between us and our customers. Customer confidence is at the very heart of McDonald’s business.
When the FBI first contacted us, we were shocked and stunned. However, we agreed immediately to cooperate fully with the FBI in an effort to ensure our customer interests were protected. And today, we’re pleased to see this objective accomplished. We are proud of the role McDonald’s played in this investigation, and pleased that no McDonald’s employees were involved in any way. The FBI has made it clear that McDonald’s was betrayed by a long-time supplier in a highly sophisticated inside game of fraud and deception. We are delighted that the perpetrators were arrested today.
On behalf of McDonald’s, our franchisees, employees and customers, we want to thank the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Justice for their extraordinary work. In piecing together this challenging case, this federal law enforcement team has earned our heartfelt thanks for the arrest of this criminal ring. Moreover, we recognize that this investigation is ongoing, and McDonald’s has pledged its continued cooperation and support to the FBI’s efforts.
Let me underscore one important point. Millions of McDonald’s customers legitimately won prizes over the years, from free food and drinks to cash and merchandise. We now know, however, that this criminal enterprise has been charged with stealing many of the highest value prizes from our customers … and that is completely unacceptable. To right this wrong, we are announcing today the opportunity for McDonald’s customers to win prizes valued at $10 million between August 30 through September 3 in a McDonald’s Instant Give-Away.
McDonald’s is committed to giving our customers a chance to win every dollar that has been stolen by this criminal ring. This initial $10 million give-away is the first important step towards fulfilling this commitment. When the FBI concludes its investigation and ultimately determines the total amount stolen, we will announce plans to give our customers an opportunity to win any additional dollars taken.
Finally, we want to emphasize again that McDonald’s will do whatever it takes to ensure the integrity of our brand, our restaurants and the trust of our customers.
An Open Letter to McDonald’s Customers
Dear McDonald’s Customers:
Your confidence has and always will be our highest priority.
At McDonald’s, we let nothing stand between us and our customers, which is
why we were outraged when the FBI told us that a suspected criminal ring
allegedly stole millions of dollars worth of top prizes in our McDonald’s
When the FBI asked for our help in this investigation, we agreed
immediately to cooperate fully with them in an effort to ensure our
customers’ interests were protected. And today, we’re pleased to see this
In keeping with this commitment to our customers, we’re also pleased to
announce today an exciting opportunity for customers to have a second
chance to win prizes totaling $10 million.
We want you to have what belongs to you. That includes a chance to win
. . . and a chance to win big.
All you need to do is be at the right McDonald’s at the right time.
That’s why from August 30, 2001 through September 3, 2001, when you visit
your local McDonald’s restaurant, you become eligible to win instantly in
the McDonald’s 2001 Instant Giveaway, featuring a $10 Million Prize Pool.
(See details below.)
This special chance is all about making things right for you . . . and
nothing is more important to us than your trust.
Good luck . . . and on behalf of all McDonald’s franchisees and employees,
we thank you for your continued loyalty and confidence.
Jack Greenberg, Chairman and CEO
– There will be five Grand Prizes of $1,000,000, paid out in cash of
$50,000 each year for 20 years.
– There will be 50 First Prizes of $100,000. Fifty winners will
receive lump sum payments of $100,000 each.
– There is no purchase required.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Game begins at participating McDonald’s on
August 30, 2001 and ends September 3, 2001. Each day of the Giveaway runs
from 7:00AM local time or upon individual store opening, whichever is
later, until 1/2 hour prior to close of business or 11:30PM local time,
whichever occurs first. McDonald’s Monopoly(R). Game Stamps still honored
per its official rules. See stores or www.mcdonalds.com for official
rules, including odds. Void where prohibited.
McDonald’s and the Golden Arches logo are trademarks of McDonald’s
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