A northern California man, Steven Zinnel, was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for declaring bankruptcy and hiding assets to avoid paying child support and spousal support. He was also ordered to pay a $500,000 fine and forfeit assets worth more than $2,8 million. The sentence is said to be one of the longest prison terms given for bankruptcy fraud in federal court in the Sacramento Eastern District of California.
Zinnel, the father of two teenage children, split from his wife in 1999 and had a contentious divorce. Apparently, there was a history of Zinnel concealing his assets throughout he case and afterwards in an attempt to avoid paying support.
In California, spouses have a fiduciary duty to disclose their complete financial information to each other. If a party’s financial situation changes (upwards or downwards), that party also has a duty to provide supplemental or amended information to the other party disclosing the change to their finances.