Tennessee Dem Charged With Embezzlement

Tennessee State Capitol building / Getty Images

Federal prosecutors charged a Democratic Tennessee state senator on Wednesday with embezzlement and theft.

In addition to being a state senator, Katrina Robinson is the director of a health care job-training program that has received $2.2 million in federal grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. Robinson allegedly stole more than $600,000 of that amount between 2015 and 2019. She used the funds to pay for her wedding and luxury items for her family, according to the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

This is not the first time Democratic state legislators have faced allegations of corruption in recent weeks. Illinois house speaker Michael Madigan, who chairs the state's Democratic Party, is at the center of a bribery scandal involving the state's largest public utility company.

In addition to paying for a wedding, Robinson allegedly used the funds to pay for home upgrades, her daughter’s 2016 Jeep Renegade, and a $500 Louis Vuitton purse, the New York Post reported. She also allegedly used the funds to invest in her children’s snow cone company and pad her retirement fund.

A federal investigation of Robinson began in 2016, two years before she was elected to represent Shelby County, which includes Memphis, as a state senator. Robinson said she will continue to serve in the legislature "with the same integrity" as before the charges.

If convicted, Robinson could serve up to 20 years in federal prison and receive a $250,000 fine.