Thursday, February 17, 2011

Married Lezbezzlers Sentenced
in $6M Insurance Scheme

(Phyllis Stevens, left, and her wife Marla, leaving the federal courthouse in Iowa last month, after a sentencing hearing. Screen capture: Des Moines Register.)

This may is surely a first for married same sex couples, in that the lesbian partners collaborated to defraud an insurance firm, spent some of the ill-gotten gains on real estate, were living large in Las Vegas and donating to gay-friendly politicians.

As if that weren't enough to capture your attention, the partner who worked for the insurance company claims she has hundreds of split personalities and her wife is a descendant of Thomas Jefferson.

According to a January 21 story in the Des Moines Register, sentencing went rather quickly:

Aviva embezzler Phyllis Stevens received a six year prison term Friday while her spouse, Marla, received just over three years for her role in the crime.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Longstaff imposed the sentences on the two women at the end of a three hour hearing in which both women admitted their guilt, but explained that mental disorders caused by abuse as children contributed to their crimes. ...

Similarly, Marla Stevens, a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Martha, took responsibility for spending large amounts of money including more than $400,000 in room service charges at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. ...

But Longstaff said that the amount of money embezzled, $5.9 million, plus how the money was spent was key to determining that both women have to serve prison time.

“When you steal $6 million, you are going to jail and going to go for a long time,” Longstaff said. ...

In a separate Register article, details emerged about the unique defense presented by Phyllis Stevens:

She says she has dissociative identity disorder, commonly known as multiple personalities - and hundreds of them.

Stevens told the psychiatrist that she first learned of the embezzlement during a meeting with Aviva officials.

"I figured it must be pretty close to the truth from what the Aviva folks were telling me from the reactions I was getting from the personalities." ...

As far as I know, Phyllis and Marla Stevens are the first legally married lesbian couple convicted of embezzlement against an insurance firm, and they'll have quite a story to tell the community after all their legal troubles are solved and their prison terms are served.

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