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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.

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