Democrat Lawmaker in Tennessee Charged with Theft, Embezzlement, and Wire Fraud

Katrina Robinson
Tennessee General Assembly

A Tennessee state senator was charged Wednesday for allegedly stealing $600,000 in federal money to pay for her wedding and lavish lifestyle.

“From 2015 to 2019, state Sen. Katrina Robinson is accused of stealing the money that was granted to The Healthcare Institute — a company she directed, according to prosecutors,” the New York Post reported.

The article continued:

In addition to covering her wedding costs, Robinson, a Democrat from a Memphis district elected in 2018, is charged with using the funds to pay for her honeymoon and pay legal fees for her divorce, the feds charge.

With the stolen money the lawmaker also paid for her daughter’s 2016 Jeep Renegade, home improvements, a $500 Louis Vuitton handbag and invested in a snow cone business run by her children, prosecutors and the FBI said.

“Robinson was charged with theft, embezzlement and wire fraud,” the report noted.

Although neither she nor her attorney directly denied the accusations in the criminal complaint at a press conference Wednesday, Robinson “implied her political convictions played a role in the investigation,” according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“It is believed that if I were not in the position that I’m in, that if I did not champion the voices, the views and the faces that I represent, that I would not be in this moment right now,” Robinson said.

She founded the nursing college in 2015 and received $2.2 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services between then and 2019, the Appeal article noted.

The report continued:

The investigation was opened after HHS received an anonymous complaint in December 2016 alleging Robinson used grant money to buy [a] $550 Louis Vuitton handbag. HHS and the FBI jointly investigated the case.

Bank records for The Health Institute obtained by the FBI and HHS allegedly showed Robinson giving herself a $25,400 performance bonus in the 2017 fiscal year, transferring $54,000 into a brokerage account to set up an IRA for herself, and paying herself a base salary of almost $170,000 more than was approved by HHS during the period her business was receiving grant funding.

“The case will be presented to a federal grand jury at a later date. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in federal prison — there is no parole in the federal system — three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine,” the article concluded.

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