Thursday, October 1, 2009
Iowa Democrat Political Activist Accused Of Embezzling Nearly $6 Million
Phyllis Stevens, 58, of Des Moines, Iowa, has been accused of embezzling more than $5.9 million from Aviva USA, a large insurance company with whom she had been employed as a compensation specialist. According to a lawsuit filed by the company against her, Stevens manipulated the company's computer systems to pay fraudulent agent commissions into an account controlled by her and her spouse. The scheme allegedly spanned four years and involved some 200 fraudulent transactions. Stevens is a well known political activist in Iowa and a large contributor to Democrat political candidates, including Barack Obama. She is also the founder of two Iowa-based political action committees, Rainbow Equality PAC and Queer Education PAC. She was also involved in the formation of the Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa and is listed as the Chairwoman of the organization. She also chairs the Midwest Chapter of Marriage Equality USA. According to reports, Stevens and her same-sex spouse, Marla Stevens, have donated more than $175,000 to candidates since 2006. Marla Stevens reportedly serves as a policy director for LGBT Fairness PAC. Stevens, who was a 35-year employee of Aviva and its predecessor companies, was arrested by the FBI in Las Vegas late last week. The theft is believed to be one of the largest embezzlement cases in state history.