Tennessee Senator begins trial of alleged theft


Memphis, Tennessee (AP) —Jury selection steals more than $ 600,000 in federal funding received by a Tennessee-supervised healthcare school and uses that money for weddings and other personal expenses. It began on Monday in a trial charged with paying. ..

Senator Katrina Robinson was charged with wire fraud and theft and embezzlement related to government programs in July 2020 after the FBI searched the school and her home. She pleaded not guilty.

Democrats of Memphis were elected to the General Assembly in 2018. She was accused of stealing funds from a federal grant scheduled for the Healthcare Institute, which provides work training in the healthcare sector.

The Robinson-led school received over $ 2.2 million in federal grants from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The FBI’s affidavit alleges that federal funds have been deposited in the school’s bank account for the operation of the school. The funds were then “indiscriminately mixed with personal spending for the benefit of Robinson and his close relatives,” FBI special agent Matthew Pluit wrote.

From 2015 to 2019, Robinson used more than $ 600,000 in grants to personalize weddings and honeymoons, 2016 daughter Jeep Renegade, family trips and entertainment, state legislature campaign events, and more. I paid a lot of money. Said.

The prosecutor said she also used the money to pay for divorces, home renovations, and lawyers’ fees for children-run shaved ice businesses.

Robinson also paid $ 169,134 more than the federal grants allowed, according to the FBI’s affidavit. She also gave herself $ 54,000 for her personal retirement account, the prosecutor said.

Robinson’s lawyer, Janica White, said Robinson would be proven. Robinson said she would fight the accusation in July 2020.

“It is believed that if I weren’t in the position I am, I wouldn’t be at this moment without defending my voice, views, and face,” Robinson said. , Black man.

A Senate Democrat said Robinson’s work in the state legislature was “not a problem,” and she said “it deserves an acquittal and due process presumption.”

If convicted, Robinson could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison. Robinson will be reelected in 2022.

Robinson is also facing federal crime in a second case related to alleged tuition fraud. In that case, she pleaded not guilty.