Woman in Iowa Pleads Not Guilty to Embezzling Insurer

A woman accused of embezzling an estimated $5.9 million from insurance company Aviva USA has pleaded not guilty.

Phyllis Stevens entered her plea in Iowa. Court records indicate Stevens was indicted by a grand jury on 18 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, embezzlement, computer fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The 58-year-old Stevens, a 35-year-employee of Aviva and a predecessor insurance company, is accused of creating a computer program that channeled commission payments into a bank account jointly held by her and a companion.

The alleged embezzlement began in June 2004 and continued until Sept. 23, when company officials began to question Stevens about discrepancies in an agent’s commission account. She was arrested two days later in Las Vegas.

Information from: The Des Moines Register, www.desmoinesregister.com