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Crooked "Consultant" Stole $250,000 from West Village Restaurants by Writing Checks to Himself

While writing checks to vendors, John McKee was also writing a lot of checks to himself.

One of the victims, Whitehall
One of the victims, Whitehall

A man who billed himself as a restaurant consultant was charged in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday with embezzling over $250,000 from three West Village restaurants over the past two years. John McKee, who owns an accounting firm called Bambina Magra, got himself hired by Southwestern tequila bar Agave, Highlands (the "contemporary Scottish gastropub"), and Whitehall (same owners and general idea as Highlands, only British), and had them authorize him to write checks not only to their vendors, but also to himself.

In this way, under the guise of paying their produce bills, he wrote himself quite a few unauthorized checks from the restaurants, and on top of that kept some of the money that was supposed to go to vendors. Apparently, when the unfortunate restaurants finally caught on and a staff member confronted him, he admitted, "You caught me red handed!"

Nonetheless, the Post reports, McKee pleaded "not guilty" in court to charges of grand larceny and scheming to defraud. The judge set his bail at $200,000 bond or $150,000 cash.


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