A former Chicago Transit Authority clerk will spend a year in federal prison after she pleaded guilty to defrauding more than $350,000 from the agency’s retirement plan.
A federal judge this week sentenced 51-year-old Ayanna Nesbitt to one year and one day in prison after she entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.
Nesbitt, who had worked as a retirement clerk for the CTA and was allowed access to its retirement plan, was charged late last year after she fraudulently created 43 payment requests between March 2019 and September 2021.
According to her plea agreement, Nesbitt admitted filing those requests for death benefit payments, pension refunds and payments to the beneficiaries of deceased employees. But instead of sending those payments to legitimate recipients, Nesbitt wired the funds to bank accounts she or her relatives controlled.
In total, the retirement plan lost more than $356,000, approximately $351,439 of which was paid out directly to Nesbitt, the plea agreement states.
In September 2021, the retirement plan began questioning the transactions, which eventually led to an investigation and the subsequent charges against Nesbitt. According to her plea, she has since paid back more than $115,000.
She was subsequently fired from the CTA.
Nesbitt’s defense attorney had sought a sentence of probation, arguing that she has no previous criminal history and “accepted responsibility from the outset” of the case.
But federal prosecutors stated that Nesbitt was a “public employee who abused her position to benefit herself and those close to her.”