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Apr 14, 2015 by |

Insurance and Annuities Company Aviva Life and Annuity Files Lawsuit against Dewey Executives over $35 Million Note Fraud


Aviva Life and Annuity filed its third lawsuit against a group of Dewey & LeBouef LLP executives on Friday in Iowa Federal Court. Aviva Life and Annuity alleges that they were misled about the firm’s finances when they purchased $35 million in secured notes.

Aviva Life and Annuity also alleges that former COO Dennis D’Alessandro and former executive committee member and chair of Dewey’s global finance group Richard Shutran knew about financial issues and accounting tricks. According to the complaint, they kept this information out of documents regarding the notes, making it so that Aviva Life and Annuity could not properly assess the risk factors associated with purchasing the notes.

Aviva Life and Annuity says that the company made itself appear financially sound, hiding millions of dollars in debt and claiming 2008 cash flow to be $293 million instead of the actual number of $263 million. Aviva Life and Annuity originally had sued former CFO Joel Sanders, former executive director Stephen DiCarmine and Chairman Steven Davis in 2012, and former finance director Francis Canellas in 2014. Those cases have been stayed pending the results of a criminal trial against Sanders, Davis, and DiCarmine in New York County, alleging that they misled lenders, and other lawyers and investors about the firm’s financial health.

Dewey informed Aviva Life and Annuity in 2012 that they would default or already had defaulted on the notes. Aviva Life and Annuity claims they later sold the notes at a significant loss, for $19.3 million.

Aviva Life and Annuity sells life insurance and deferred annuities, and is part of the British multinational insurance company Aviva Group. California annuity fraud and insurance fraud attorneys warn that life insurance companies and/or their agents often misinform their clients about the risks of purchasing deferred annuities. Annuity policies may have a maturity date or deferral period with penalties associated that outlasts the life expectancy of the policy-holder. Agents and/or brokers may push clients to purchase deferred annuities, due to the higher commissions they receive on these sales, creating a potential conflict of interest. Accordia Life and Annuity Company replaced Athene Annuity and Life Company (formerly known as Aviva Life and Annuity Company) as the insurer for a number of annuity and life insurance policies after acquiring Aviva USA in 2013.

To learn more about Aviva and its financial products, see our main Aviva page.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles all types of insurance and annuity fraud cases, and has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sonoma. We recommend people who have purchased, or are considering purchasing, deferred annuity policies to contact our attorneys to determine if an Aviva annuity was a suitable annuity sale for you at 415-441-8669 or via email at

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