Crime - Sacto 911

Attorney gets prison time for laundering money for Gold River man

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 Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley in Sacramento 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 Steven Zinnel, 50, of Gold River. The two began a romantic relationship and a nearly decadelong relationship transacting in assets that Zinnel had illegally concealed during 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, prosecutors said, 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 Zinnel 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,” according to the court.

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