Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) was acquitted on Monday on 15 possible fraud and embezzlement charges.
Robinson’s charges stemmed from an investigation into the Memphis-based Healthcare Institute (THI), which the state lawmaker directs.
Prosecutors argued that Robinson had stolen approximately $600,000 in federal grant money, meant to help students who attend the institution.
“Payments and purchases included a vehicle for her daughter; clothing, accessories, and hair and beauty products; expenses related to her wedding and honeymoon, and later, legal fees for her divorce; payments on her personal debts, including credit cards, store charge cards, student loans, and other personal loans; travel and entertainment for herself and her family; improvements to her personal residence; expenses related to a body aesthetics business she owned and a snow cone business operated by her children; and an event for her State Senate campaign,” prosecutors alleged.
Additionally, federal attorneys claimed that Robinson paid herself $169,134 more than she was allowed under salary amounts permitted by the federal grant.
However, Robinson and her attorney are arguing that Robinson should be able to spend the profits of her institute like the CEO of another business without any consequence on the spending.
If convicted on all counts, Robinson could have faced up to 20 years in federal prison, 3 years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
Robinson’s legal concerns have carried on for more than a year. Investigators publicly launched the probe when FBI agents carried out search warrants at the for-profit nursing school.
Robinson’s trial for the remaining 5 charges is expected to continue.
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