This segment reports on the antics of Steven K. Zinnel, who got himself into serious trouble when he planned and decided to commit bankruptcy fraud. Bankruptcy fraud isn’t such the big story with this case, but what is interesting is the way that his fraud got detected and the fallout from it. First, some backstory.
Mr. Zinnel went through a horrible divorce and child support battle with his now ex-wife. Mr. Zinnel was a businessman with significant holdings and assets, but he wanted to control how much of it would be given to his ex-wife or kids. Essentially, he didn’t want to be told by the State court how much of his money would be given for his obligations. So what did he do? He filed personal bankruptcy. Best way to get protection is the Federal kind, while in bankruptcy. Because of the nature of the relationship between he and his ex, she knew information about his holdings, and he knew that. She wasn’t going to make it easy for him to just screw her and the kids out of what would rightfully be theirs otherwise.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Zinnel decided, along with his attorney, Derian Eidson, that they would set up trusts and companies in a way that would shield his assets from detection from the bankruptcy trustee. He put property into other peoples’ names both before and after his bankruptcy too. THAT, is a no-no. Zinnel apparently made it clear in the divorce case that he believed he could conceal his true financial picture in order to avoid his financial obligations (his kids). He wanted a little bit of help to achieve his goal of getting his wife off his trail, so he did what anyone would do: he contacted the FBI. His ex was making things uncomfortable for him by requesting records about him, so he decided to make things uncomfortable for her. He asked the FBI to investigate his ex-wife for requesting the records. According to THIS write-up on the story, “According to papers on file with the court, when agents followed up on Zinnel’s call to the FBI, his own bankruptcy crimes were discovered.” According to the write-up by TIME found HERE, Zinnel’s BK judge noted that, “having roused the beast, like the professor in Frankenstein, [Zinnel] was soon fighting off his own creation.” It took a while, but the FBI was able to piece together his asset transfers, saw the sources of his income that he didn’t declare, and found the proof of his various bankruptcy frauds.
Oh, and let’s not forget about his female lawyer that put her own credentials on the line in order to assist her client with his fraud. Difficult to imagine that an attorney would be so focused on winning for their client, that they would be willing to lie for them and help them commit fraud. Clean hands doctrine, anyone? Eidson was convicted of one count of conspiracy, and one of attempting to commit money laundering. She also had to forfeit assets due to her conduct. One has to wonder how much her integrity was bought for, assuming she had it to begin with?
Zinnel tried to appeal his bankruptcy, but it got stayed until after the criminal proceedings were completed. You can read about that by going HERE. Zinnel’s Judge had this to say: [“You don’t lie before a court of law,” Judge Nunley admonished Zinnel. “You don’t continue to lie, which is what you did.” Judge Nunley found that Zinnel’s gifts of being articulate and charismatic were used toward promoting Zinnel’s “own selfish ends.”] Federal prosecutors had this to report in their filed briefs: “[Zinnel] showed his true nature: ‘hateful, vindictive, and incorrigible,’ read the court papers. More on that HERE.
Zinnel got fined that $500,000 that is mentioned on nearly all of the bankruptcy paperwork that debtors have to acknowledge. He also ended up having to forfeit almost $3 million of his assets to the government, and let’s not forget the time that you do for doing the crime that you did: more than 17 years! Here’s a copy of the Prelim Order:
We asked on this site, “can you make someone do the right thing?”. We were writing about our Pisces, Ms. Proctor. We certainly hope she is reading this post, along with her attorneys. This story is directly relevant to her, and she (and they) certainly know why! It’s time to be honest. Even Teresa, from the Real Housewives of New Jersey is doing it. SEE?
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