A Tennessee lawmaker is accused of stealing more than $600,000 in taxpayer money to fund a lavish lifestyle for herself and her family in a scheme that lasted several years and helped her pay for her wedding, honeymoon and even divorce fees, federal authorities said Wednesday.
State Sen. Katrina Robinson, a first-term Democrat who represents a district in Shelby County, embezzled the money from federal grants that were donated to a healthcare education company she directs, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Memphis.
Instead of using the funds for legitimate programs, Robinson allegedly bought herself a Louis Vuitton handbag, hair and beauty products, clothing, home electronics, and numerous other items over the years. She even spent the money on a trip to Jamaica, a $5,000 wrought iron door for her home, a 2016 Jeep Renegade for her daughter, expenses related to her own wedding and honeymoon, and legal fees associated with her divorce, prosecutors said.
Robinson is also accused of using the funds to invest in her children’s snow cone business and pay for a political campaign event.
The 39-year-old lawmaker was elected in 2018 to represent Tennessee’s 33rd district in the state senate.
The company where she serves as director, The Healthcare Institute, provides educational and training programs for jobs in the healthcare field. The organization received more than $2.2 million in grants between 2015 and 2019 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, federal authorities said.
In a news conference Wednesday, Robinson appeared to suggest the charges against her may be politically motivated.
Tennessee lawmaker used taxpayer money to fund lavish lifestyle, pay for wedding, honeymoon, divorce: feds
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