Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson has been federally charged with theft and embezzlement involving government programs and wire fraud.
U.S. Attorney for West Tennessee Michael Dunavant announced the unsealing of the criminal complaint in Memphis Wednesday.
According to the information presented in the complaint, the 39-year-old Robinson is the Director of The Healthcare Institute (THI), a provider of educational and training programs for jobs in the healthcare field. She is also a Tennessee State Senator, having been elected to represent the 33rd District in Shelby County in 2018.
Between 2015 and 2019, The Healthcare Institute received over $2.2 million in federal grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. During that same time period, Robinson stole in excess of $600,000 from THI by compensating herself in excess of what was allowed under the terms of the HRSA grant and by using Institute funds for payments and purchases for her own personal benefit and that of her immediate family.
Payments and purchases included a vehicle for her daughter; clothing, accessories, and hair and beauty products; expenses related to her wedding and honeymoon, and later, legal fees for her divorce; payments on her personal debts, including credit cards, store charge cards, student loans, and other personal loans; travel and entertainment for herself and her family; improvements to her personal residence; expenses related to a body aesthetics business she owned and a snow cone business operated by her children; and an event for her State Senate campaign.
If convicted, Robinson faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, 3 years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. There is no parole in the federal system.
The case will be presented to a federal grand jury at a later date to consider an indictment against the defendant.