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Man who hid assets gets 17-year term

SACRAMENTO — A California businessman accused of declaring bankruptcy and hiding his assets to avoid paying child support and alimony following a contentious divorce was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison.

Steven K. Zinnel, 50, of Sacramento County was also ordered on Tuesday to pay a $500,000 fine and forfeit assets of more than $2.8 million, The Sacramento Bee reported.

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The fraud came to light after Zinnel called the FBI and asked the agency to investigate his ex-wife, the Bee reported. The couple, who have two teenage children, split in 1999.

The state Third District Court of Appeal ruled on the divorce case in 2008, and said it was Zinnel’s ‘‘view that if he can conceal his finances long enough he will not have to support his children.’’

Federal prosecutors alleged Zinnel put much of his property in other people’s names before and after his 2005 bankruptcy. Zinnel was convicted of 15 counts of bankruptcy fraud and money laundering last year.

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