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Tennessee State Sen. Katrina Robinson (D) pictured on April 25, 2019. (CC-BY-SA-4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
CRIME AND INCIDENTS
Feds Charge Tennessee State Senator With Theft and Embezzlement
The US Attorney’s office filed charges of theft, embezzlement involving government programs, and wire fraud
Author: Annette Peagler
Published: 10:28 PM CDT July 29, 2020
Updated: 10:28 PM CDT July 29, 2020
MEMPHIS, Tenn — Local 24 News is hearing from Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson after U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Tennessee, Michael Dunavant announced criminal charges of theft, embezzlement involving government programs, and wire fraud against her.
Robinson and her attorney maintained her innocent and said what was filed Wednesday is merely a complaint, not an indictment.
FBI agents raided Senator Robinson’s home in February and have been investigating her ever since. Agents raided her home again July 28.
In the criminal complaint, it alleges Senator Robinson misappropriated government funds used for The Healthcare Institute, a Tennessee for-profit LLC created in 2015, where Robinson serves as the director.
“I am committed to continuing to serve with the same integrity, the same passion that I’ve demonstrated since you’ve elected me to this office,” said TN State Senator Katrina Robinson, who represents District 33.
Federal investigators say Robinson compensated herself in excess of $600,000 in federal grants, over a 4-year period, that was meant for The Healthcare Institute on Winchester Road.
The complaint says Robinson used money from the Health Resources and Services Administration for her own personal benefit and her immediate family.
“The healthcare institute is still in business, she started that institute because she saw a need in her community for education and healthcare. It was a gap, she filled that gap,” said Janika White, Robinson’s attorney.
An anonymous complaint in December of 2016 sparked the investigation, alleging Robinson used The Healthcare Institute funds to purchase a designer handbag.
Bank records obtained by federal investigators showed expenses ranging from a vehicle for her daughter, clothing, travel and entertainment, and expenses related to a Snow Cone Business operated by her children.
“It is believed that if I was 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 that I’m in right now with you today,” Robinson explained.