Democrat Charged with Stealing $600,000 in Taxpayer Money to Fund Lavish Lifestyle
Katrina Robinson, 39, federally charged with theft and embezzlement
A Tennessee Democrat state senator who allegedly stole over $600,000 in federal money to fund her lavish lifestyle, including paying for her wedding, honeymoon, along with personal expenses, has been charged this week.
The Department of Justice said:
“Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson, 39, has been federally charged with theft and embezzlement involving government programs and wire fraud."
“According to the information presented in the complaint, Katrina 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.”
According to the DOJ, between 2015 and 2019, the THI received more than $2 million in federal grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Robinson allegedly stole over $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.”
This is what Robinson allegedly paid for with the stolen money according to the DOJ’s statement:
- A vehicle for her daughter
- Clothing, accessories
- Hair and beauty products
- Expenses related to her wedding and honeymoon
- Legal fees for her divorce
- Payments on her personal debts
- Travel and entertainment
- Improvements to her home
- Expenses related to body aesthetics
- Business she owned and a snow cone business operated by her children; and an event for her State Senate campaign.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said in announcing the charges:
“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,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Jermicha L. Fomby of the Memphis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation added.
“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.”
If convicted, Democrat Robinson faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
But the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus defended Robinson the New York Times reported:
“Senator Robinson’s work in the state legislature on behalf of her constituents is not in question here today.”
“Just like every other American, Senator Robinson deserves the presumption of innocence and due process under the law,” the statement continued.
“Her case should be resolved by a court of law, not by the court of public opinion.”
The Daily Mail reported the state senator is still running for re-election in 2022.
During a news conference, Robinson's attorney Janika White said federal prosecutors were using a statute to charge Robinson that is 'broad and overreaching,' and Robinson would be vindicated.