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Former CTA employees plead guilty to stealing coworkers' identities

A man was sentenced to jail March 12, 2021, for causing a fatal crash in 2019 in DuPage County.

Two former CTA employees have pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from the agency’s deferred compensation program.

Donella Anderson Watkins, 43, and her husband Sammie, 56, submitted fake death certificates for their living children and stole the identity of former coworkers in order to withdraw money from their accounts without incurring a tax penalty, according to a statement from the state’s attorney general’s office.

Donella Watkins was sentenced to five years in prison for continuing a financial crimes enterprise and fraudulently filing an Illinois tax return, the statement said. Sammie Watkins was sentenced to eight months in prison and 18 months of probation for attempted identity theft and fraudulently filing a state tax return.

The couple submitted their children’s fake death certificates to create an “emergency need” for supposed funeral expenses to their deferred compensation program administrators, the statement said. They also attempted to submit false withdrawal forms on behalf of other CTA employees.

Donella Watkins managed to secure $18,000 in the name of a coworker, but authorities found out about the scheme after Sammie Watkins attempted to make an emergency withdrawal in the name of another employee.