Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 4:24 pm | Overcast with Haze 58º


Accused Forger, Plagiarist Steven Kunes Pleads Guilty to Grand Theft, Commercial Burglary

Santa Barbara man scheduled for sentencing Feb. 1 and faces up to five years in prison

Steven Kunes.
Steven Kunes. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

A Santa Barbara man accused of check forgery has pleaded guilty to grand theft by false pretenses and second-degree commercial burglary, Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota said Monday.

Steven Kunes was arrested in New Jersey after skipping court hearings in Santa Barbara County Superior Court. He said Kunes was brought back to the county by the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Kunes faced charges of second-degree commercial burglary, intent to commit larceny and any felony, and felony counts after allegedly trying to pass bad checks at Montecito Bank & Trust. He was also arrested for a parole violation in March and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Cota said Kunes also admitted special allegations for previously going to prison for forgery and grand theft.

Kunes will be sentenced Feb. 1 either to five years or, if he comes up with the $9,673.90 in restitution, he will get four years, according to Cota. With the law enforcement realignment, outlined in Assembly Bill 109, Kunes will serve the prison sentence in Santa Barbara County’s Main Jail.

Normally, state prisoners serve half-time, but with overcrowding mandates, the County Jail is allowed to let people out even earlier than that, Cota said. Kunes’ criminal history includes prison time for check forgery and being implicated in forgeries at both Business First Bank and Montecito Bank & Trust.

Kunes claims to be a screenwriter but appears to have many holes in his self-proclaimed resume. He has submitted plagiarized works to local publications, including Noozhawk, that were taken from Newsweek columnists.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.