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CTA benefits specialist charged with looting $350,000 from pension plan using fake retiree death information

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A Chicago Transit Authority retirement expert has been charged with federal charges for stealing more than $350,000 from the agency’s pension plan using fake beneficiary information for dozens of recently deceased retirees. I was.

Ayanna Nesbitt, 50, of Chicago was charged with five counts of wire fraud in an indictment released Friday. Her arraignment was set on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly.

According to the indictment, Nesbit made fraudulent claims to make death benefits and refunds of pension contributions to CTA retirees and other purported beneficiaries of eligible members of the pension plan. , received approval.

Nesbitt then allegedly transferred funds to bank accounts she controlled and other accounts held by family members and colleagues and used the money for her own and others’ personal expenses.

According to the indictment, between March 2019 and September 2021, Nesbit obtained approval for a total of 43 false death or annuity claims totaling $357,000. .

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A lawyer for Nesbitt did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

According to Nesbitt’s LinkedIn profile, she has worked as a CTA Retirement Specialist for 17 years. From 1996 until 2004 she was also a CTA bus operator, according to her profile.

In 2016, Nesbitt and the then head of the CTA retirement plan were sued in U.S. District Court by a woman who claimed she was defrauded of her retirement benefits after her husband died in 2014.

Retirement plan attorneys disputed this claim, writing a motion seeking to dismiss documents that “clearly and unequivocally” indicated that the woman’s husband had chosen to receive all of his retirement benefits for the rest of his life. of his death.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kokolas dismissed the case in June 2016 on the grounds of lack of federal jurisdiction, records show.

A CTA is a separate entity from a retirement plan. A representative of the program could not be reached for comment.

jmeisner@chicagotribun.com

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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