Rafael Thomas, 41, admitted to one count each of attempted grand larceny and falsifying business records for swiping about $96,000 between January 2011 and February 2012 from Masa, a Zagat-rated restaurant in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.
"For more than a year, this defendant siphoned money off the very books he was responsible for maintaining," Vance said in a statement. "This case, like so many others in which workers take advantage of their employers, should serve as a reminder to business owners to regularly review their finances to prevent theft and fraud by insiders."
Thomas, who lives in The Bronx, was responsible for overseeing Masa's day-to-day finances, Vance said, and he became the sole employee responsible for processing payroll, depositing money from cash sales and balancing the restaurant's business account.
Thomas will be sentenced April 18. He likely faces two years in prison, one for each count, Judge Ronald Zweibel said Friday, according to law enforcement sources. When he is released, he will then be mandated to repay the money that he stole, plus 5 percent, or about $100,800.
Masa declined to comment.