A state senator is facing up to twenty years in prison after being charged with theft, wire fraud, and embezzlement for using federal grant money to pay for her lavish lifestyle.
39-year-old Senator Katrina Robinson, who is serving as a Tennessee state senator, has been accused of stealing $600,000 from the federal grant intended to fund a nurse training program.
According to the reports, Robinson, who is also the director of the for-profit college called The Healthcare Institute, redirected a massive sum of federal money intended to fund a training program at the college to herself over the course of four years.
As prosecutors claim, Robinson stole $600,000 from the $2.2 million federal grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services between the years 2015 and 2019.
According to the allegations, the state senator used a part of the stolen money to pay for her wedding, expensive holidays, and legal fees associated with her divorce.
In addition, the 39-year-old allegedly used a part of the stolen funds on improvements of her body aesthetics business, a new car for her daughter, and clothing and beauty products.
As FBI special agent Matthew Pruitt wrote in an affidavit, the federal grant funds deposited to the college’s bank account were “commingled indiscriminately with personal expenditure for the benefit of Robinson and her immediate family.”
According to the Bureau, Robinson used over $33k of the federal money on clothing, shoes, and beauty products.She also spent over $16k on electronics, $9k on building supplies, $13k on payments on a personal credit card, $24k on improvements of her business, $32k on rent for her business, $20k on payments on a personal student loan, $14k on legal fees for divorce, $5k on a family trip to Jamaica, $25k on her performance bonus, and $54k on her retirement fund among many other personal expenditures.
Over the years, the senator allegedly also paid herself nearly $170,000 more in salary than she should.
Hitting back at the charges and allegations was Robinson’s attorney, Janika White, who insisted that her client will be vindicated. As White claimed, Robinson is also a nurse who has been traveling outside her state in order to help treat patients during the pandemic.
Following the charges, Robinson, who is running for reelection in 2022, vowed to continue serving “with the same integrity, the same passion that I’ve demonstrated since you’ve elected me to this office.”
“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,” she said.