A benefits specialist for the CTA is facing federal fraud and embezzlement charges related to the withdrawal of $350,000 worth of pension benefits related to deceased employees. She has since been charged with five counts of wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, but usually, the sentence is tied to the amount of money stolen and not the number of times the fraud was committed.
According to the prosecution, the defendant made requests to disburse death benefits and pension benefits to purported beneficiaries of CTA pension plans. The funds, however, were later diverted into bank accounts controlled by the defendant. The money was then used for personal expenditures.
Authorities say that the defendant made 43 death benefit or pension refund requests totaling an estimated $350,000. The defendant worked as a bus driver and later as a retirement plan specialist.