Tennessee state senator charged with stealing federal funds

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In a photo provided by the Tennessee State Senate, Tennessee state Sen. Katrina Robinson poses for a photo in Nashville, Tenn., date not known. Robinson has been charged with stealing more than $600,000 federal funds received by a health care company she directed and using the money to pay for her wedding and other personal expenses, federal prosecutors said Wednesday, July 29, 2020. A criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday charges state Robinson with theft and embezzlement involving government programs and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said in a news release. (Tennessee State Senate via AP)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A Tennessee state senator has been charged with stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds received by a health care company she directed and using the money to pay for her wedding and other personal expenses, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

A criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday charges state Sen. Katrina Robinson with theft and embezzlement involving government programs and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said in a news release.

Robinson, a Democrat elected to the General Assembly in 2018 from a Memphis district, is also the director of The Healthcare Institute, which provides training for jobs in the health care field, prosecutors said.

The Memphis-based school received received more than $2.2 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

From 2015 through 2019, Robinson stole more than $600,000 and used it to pay for her wedding and honeymoon, a 2016 Jeep Renegade for her daughter, travel and entertainment for her family, and an event for her state Senate campaign, prosecutors said.

She also used the money to pay for legal fees for her divorce, home improvements and a snow cone business operated by her children, prosecutors said.

The FBI searched the school and her home in February. FBI agents visited her home again on Tuesday, FBI spokesman Joel Siscovic said.

If convicted, Robinson faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. Robinson would be up for re-election in 2022.