CTA Workers Accused of Faking Children's Deaths

AG's office says couple concocted scheme to make tax-free emergency cash withdrawals

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Donella and Sammy Watkins

    Two former CTA workers are accused of concocting a scheme to steal money from the agency's deferred compensation program by submitting fake death certificates for their children and stealing coworkers' identities.

    Donella Anderson Watkins, 41, of Lansing, and her husband, 55-year-old Sammie Watkins, face several charges including wire fraud, identity theft and continuing a financial crimes enterprise.

    According to the Illinois Attorney General's Office, the couple submitted fake death certificates in order to create an “emergency need” for funeral expenses and not incur a tax penalty for withdrawing from their deferred compensation program.

    The couple is also accused of submitting false withdrawal forms for coworkers without their knowledge.

    Officials allege Donella Watkins was able to obtain $18,000 in the name of a co-worker but was caught after trying to make an emergency withdrawal in the name of another employee.