Judge Issues Warrant for Scamming Screenwriter

Steven Kunes, Charged with Felony Forgery and Grand Theft, Fails to Appear in Court

Steven Kunes
Paul Wellman (file)

Steven Kunes may have had one more trick up his sleeve as it appears the former Hollywood screenwriter wanted for forgery and grand theft skipped town before he could face his charges in a Santa Barbara court.

For the second time in two weeks, Kunes failed to appear before Judge Clifford Anderson, who on Friday issued a $200,000 bench warrant for his arrest. According to an anonymous source, Kunes recently flew into Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and plans on settling in Levittown near where he was born.

If the bond company that put up his original $40,000 bail, explained deputy district attorney Brian Cota, decides to go after Kunes and succeeds in turning him over to authorities, he’ll be held on $200,000 bail until he can be extradited to Santa Barbara.

Kunes has been in and out of prison and jail since 1999 with felony convictions of forgery, grand theft, and false use of financial information. Most recently, he was arrested on March 19 on charges of theft by false pretenses for swindling a friend out of $2,000 to help pay for a fake movie deal.

He was also hit with a parole violation in that incident. Kunes had been arrested in December on charges of felony commercial burglary and intent to commit larceny for trying to pass $12,000 in bad checks at Montecito Bank & Trust. He had posted bail in that case when he was taken back into custody in March. He was to be tried for both cases during his no-show Friday hearing.

Upon Kunes’s arrest six months ago, it was discovered that nearly all of the unsolicited commentaries he submitted to various publications around town — Santa Barbara News-Press, Noozhawk, and The Independent — had been largely plagiarized. The newspapers have since removed his writings from their Web sites.


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