A Tennessee state senator has been charged with theft and embezzlement of over $600,000 in federal funds, Yahoo Finance reports.
A criminal complaint was filed against Senator Katrina Robinson, who is accused of stealing funds from government programs for her own personal enrichment.
Robinson, a Democrat elected to the General Assembly in 2018, received more than $2.2 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for her Memphis-based nursing school.
Robinson, a professional nurse, is director of The Healthcare Institute, which provides CNA training for jobs in the health care field, U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said in a news release on Wednesday.
Robinson allegedly stole more than $600,000 and used some of the money to pay for her wedding costs, honeymoon expenses, legal fees for her divorce, and a 2016 Jeep Renegade for her daughter.
Robinson allegedly transferred cash from her nursing school’s bank account to her personal bank accounts between 2015 and 2019.
The FBI executed a search warrant on her Memphis home in February. FBI agents visited her home again on Tuesday, OAN News reports.
The FBI launched an investigation after receiving a tip that Robinson used school funds to purchase a Louis Vuitton handbag.
Robinson also used the money on credit card payments, hair and beauty supplies, and home improvements, including a wrought iron front door valued at more than $5,000, the FBI said.
She also spent more than $4,700 on makeup, video services and a party for her wedding, and $5,000 on a trip to Jamaica, according to Yahoo.
Robinson was defensive as she spoke with reporters on the courthouse steps on Wednesday.
“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,” Robinson said.
Robinson said she will continue serving her district in the Senate “with the same integrity, the same passion that I’ve demonstrated since you’ve elected me to this office.”
If convicted, Robinson faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. She is up for reelection in 2022.