I-Team

Former employee reveals details of McDonald's money laundering

CREATED Oct 17, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct 17, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - Edward Patterson remained in federal custody Thursday. The 38-year-old Whitefish Bay man’s arrest comes after Federal Drug Enforcement agents raided three McDonald’s restaurants in Mequon, Fox Point and Glendale. Patterson owned all of them.

“I knew it was going on, when working they would actually pull up and ask, 'dude can I get some?'” explained former employee, Ashley Santoro.

Santoro said she worked at the Mequon location for two years. She said it was clear from the beginning the owner and manager Kevin Breitzman were counting more than just burgers. “There were times when I walked into the office and there were stacks and stacks of money,” said Santoro.

Patterson is accused of using the McDonald’s to cover up the drug money. The DEA said Patterson and five others were behind a massive marijuana and oxycodone drug operation. That operation involved 100 kilograms of pot, estimated at $880,000.00. 

The DEA said most of it was stored at Patterson’s home on Belle Avenue in Whitefish Bay. The Whitefish Bay Police chief told the I-Team back in early September his department received a call from a neighbor concerned about suspicious late night activity at the Belle Avenue home.

The chief said his department looked into the matter and then contacted the DEA. The DEA informed the police department they were already investigating a much bigger case.