Apparently, the five-time married Steel, a fixture of San Francisco society, now has some new material to work with--being the victim of a crime, committed by her longtime, trusted bookkeeper.
This bookkeeper, identified as Kristy Watts, 47, of San Rafael, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and four counts of tax evastion. She is accused of stealing at least $400,000 from the best-selling author while working for her from 1993 to 2008. The San Francisco Chronicle says that Watts kept the books, handled payroll and accounting, and coordinated household and travel expenses for Steel.
Investigators determined Watts had deposited checks from Steel's accounts into her own account and used Steel's credit cards for herself. After firing Watts, Steel sued her for $2.7 million, alleging that Watts used much of the money she stole to remodel, decorate and landscape a home on G Street in San Rafael that she bought in 2004. (Here is a photo of the living room of that G Street home. It looks like it could belong to the heroine of a Steel novel, doesn't it?)
What might make Watts an interesting figure for us in Walnut Creek is that, according to a Claycord.com reader, she is a hometown gal. Watts is also listed, in federal criminal records, as Kristy Siegrist. Some snooping of my own shows that there was a person with this name who attended Northgate High in the early 1980s and was a Broncos' All-American swimmer.