A financial consultant was charged on Tuesday with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from three West Village restaurants, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said.
The consultant, 40-year-old John McKee, was indicted on multiple counts of second-degree grand larceny and one count of scheming to defraud, Vance said in a statement. McKee allegedly stole more than $250,000 from three restaurants -- Whitehall, Agave, and Highlands – by depositing unauthorized checks into his accounting company’s account.
McKee was held in lieu of $150,000 cash bail in his arraignment on Tuesday. His attorney, Michael Fineman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“As we approach the new year, businesses large and small need to be on alert for potential fraud and carefully review their finances,” Vance said in a statement. “As a result of this alleged theft, three popular Manhattan restaurants suffered significant losses. This case – like so many others involving breaches of trust by an employee – demonstrates the importance of conducting proper due diligence, especially when hiring and overseeing financial professionals.”
McKee, and his company Bambina Magra, was hired by these restaurants between March 2012 and August 2013 and authorized to write and sign checks to vendors as well as compensate himself, Vance said. But McKee is accused of overinflating his prearranged fees and pocketing both checks made out to vendors and checks written by others.
McKee’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 1.