Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson, 39, is being accused of stealing more than $600,000 in grants from the healthcare company she founded and has been federally charged with theft and embezzlement involving government programs and wire fraud. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the charge this past Wednesday, according to a press release.
Robinson allegedly used the funds for “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 sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, three years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
According to details presented in the complaint, Robinson is the director of The Healthcare Institute (THI), a provider of educational and training programs for jobs in the healthcare field. She also serves as a Tennessee State Senator, having been elected to represent the 33rd District in Shelby County in 2018.
Between the years of 2015 and 2019, The Healthcare Institute received more than $2.2 million in federal grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Robinson is accused of stealing in excess of $600,000 from THI by compensating herself more than 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.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services –Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG).
Dunavant said: “Protection of the United States Treasury and federal grant programs against theft, fraud, waste, and abuse is a top priority of this office and the Department of Justice. We commend the FBI and the HHS-OIG for their diligent and thorough investigation in this case.”
“Anyone who seeks to take advantage of government programs will be vigorously investigated by the FBI, regardless of who they are or any position they hold,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Jermicha L. Fomby of the Memphis Field Office of the FBI. “The public should know that the FBI will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to identify and investigate those who seek to exploit government programs and line their own pockets.”