Danielle Steel's Ex-Assistant Kristy Watts Jailed For Fraud
Danielle Steel's Assistant Jailed For Embezzlement
Kristy Watts, an ex-assistant of U.S. novelist Danielle Steel, got a 33-month prison sentence on Tuesday for stealing over $750,000 from her former boss. Watts, 48, was facing embezzlement charges and pleaded guilty to fraud in September. After serving her jail time, Watts will have to serve 400 hours of community service. Initially, Steel alleged $2.7 million were stolen from her, launching a lawsuit. Watts was forced to re-pay nearly $1 million as part of the lawsuit. Watts said she was motivated by "envy and jealousy" toward Steel in her wrongdoing.
Watts handled administrative tasks for Steel for 15 years until she was fired in 2008 after Steel grew suspicious. The temptation was definitely there. Watts was in charge of Steel's finances, bills, bank accounts, credit cards, travel expenses and payroll. It is alleged that Watts paid herself unearned bonuses and deposited cheques made out to "cash" into her own bank account. She also admitted to using Steel's credit card reward points. All that while being paid $200,000 a year for part-time work.
Steel, 62, became famous for her series of melodramatic romantic novels. She has 76 bestsellers under her belt, having sold 560 million books throughout her career. Her novels are being pubished in 47 countries and have been translated into 28 languages. It is alleged Steel earns up to $30 million a year. She has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the author who has spent the most consecutive weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Steele is considered to be one of the most prolific writers, publishing several books a year. She often jugles multiple projects at the same time.