Former CTA workers sentenced in fraud scheme involving fake death certificates

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CHICAGO — Two former Chicago Transit Authority workers have been sentenced in a fraud scheme.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office announced Wednesday that 43-year-old Donella Anderson Watkins of Lansing was sentenced to five years in prison for continuing a financial crimes enterprise and falsifying a tax return. Her husband, 56-year-old Sammie Watkins, was sentenced to eight months in jail and 18 months of probation for attempted identity theft and falsifying a tax return.

Both pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors say the couple submitted fake death certificates for their living children to create an "emergency need" for supposed funeral expenses. That allowed them to withdraw money from a retirement fund without a tax penalty.

They also were accused of stealing the identities of CTA co-workers to submit bogus withdrawal forms.

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