Federal grand jury indicts Tennessee state senator on 48 counts of theft, embezzlement and wire fraud

Federal grand jury indicts Tennessee state senator on 48 counts of theft, embezzlement and wire frau

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A federal grand jury returned a 48-count indictment against Tennessee State Sen. Katrina Robinson Thursday for theft and embezzlement involving government programs and wire fraud.

The indictment comes a day after U.S. Attorney Mike Dunavant announced federal charges against Robinson, 39.

TN State Sen. Katrina Robinson speaks after federal charges announced

According to the indictment, Robinson is charged with 24 counts of theft and embezzlement involving government programs and 24 counts of wire fraud.

Robinson was elected to represent the 33rd District in Shelby County in 2018, and is the director of The Healthcare Institute.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Healthcare Institute received more than $2.2 million in federal grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration between 2015 and 2019. During that same time, Robinson is accused of stealing more than $600,000 from the Healthcare Institute by compensating herself with more than is allowed by law and using Institute funds for payments and purchases for the benefit of herself and her immediate family.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation visited Robinson’s home Tuesday morning. Agents previously executed search warrants at the southeast Shelby County home in February 2020.

“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,” Dunavant said in a statement.

Robinson spoke alongside her attorney and family members Wednesday afternoon just hours after the charges were announced.

“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 with you today,” said Robinson. “And for that reason I want to reassure all my constituents, those in the 33rd Senatorial District, those citizens of Shelby County, of Memphis, Tennessee, that I am committed to continuing to serve with the same integrity, the same passion that I’ve demonstrated since you elected me to this office.”

If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

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