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Attorney sentenced to prison for helping Gold River businessman conceal assets

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2014 - 6:40 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 3, 2014 - 7:53 am

A Southern California attorney has been sentenced to prison for her role in helping a Gold River businessman conceal assets from his ex-wife.

Derian Eidson, 50, of Yorba Linda, a suspended member of the California bar, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley to 10 years and one month in prison and fined $200,000 following her conviction at trial on two counts of money laundering. The court found that Eidson “betrayed the trust that she took when she swore to uphold the laws of the state of California and the United States,” according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to evidence presented during her trial, Eidson was an insurance defense lawyer in 2001 when she met businessman Steven Zinnel, 50, of Gold River. The two began a romantic relationship, as well as a nearly decade-long relationship transacting in assets that Zinnel had illegally concealed during his child support litigation and personal bankruptcy.

Testimony during the trial established that Zinnel’s motivation was to hide assets from his ex-wife and children. Eidson’s motivation was identified by the court as “greed.” As part of the scheme, Eidson used her attorney client trust account to conceal funds.

Together with Zinnel, Eidson established a shell company, Done Deal, for the purpose of receiving distributions from Zinnel’s silent partnership in a Carmichael-based electrical infrastructure company. Keeping Done Deal and the Done Deal bank account in Eidson’s name allowed Zninel to conceal his ownership interest in the company from the bankruptcy court and family court, authorities said.

Once Zinnel’s debts were discharged, Zinnel and Eidson used the Done Deal account as “an ATM machine,” according to the court.

Zinnel was sentenced March 4 to 17 years and eight months in prison for his role in the scheme.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

Read more articles by Cathy Locke

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