A leading Democrat senator from Tennessee has been found guilty of four counts of federal fraud and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Despite the fact that Democratic Senator Katrina Robinson was found guilty on four of the five accusations against her, she has refused to declare if she will resign from office.
Robinson was convicted of wire fraud last Thursday and still faces further charges including money laundering, WHBQ-TV reports.
Robinson was caught last year using nearly $1 million in taxpayer money to fund her lavish wedding and personal lifestyle.
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally has called on Robinson to do the decent thing and resign immediately.
“While Senator Robinson’s convictions did not stem from actions taken while in office, they are nevertheless very serious,” McNally declared in a statement.
“As public servants, we are held to a higher standard.“
“My personal opinion is that it would be in the best interest of the state and her constituents for Senator Robinson to step down at this time.”
Tennesseelookout.com reports: Two of the four wire fraud charges on which Robinson was convicted relate to purchases made by Robinson in June 2016, transactions that totaled just under $3,500. The prosecution argued that Robinson intentionally misrepresented these purchases as part of a larger, though unsuccessful, scheme to convert grant money into private funds through her Memphis business, The Health Care Institute.
U.S. attorneys pointed to an email in which THI accountants asked Robinson to clarify a list of purchases, two of which relate to her wedding, and she responded with references to different types of classifications, including categories of grant expenses. No money was ultimately debited from grant funds for these purchases.
The three remaining wire fraud charges corresponded to three Annual Performance Reports completed by The Healthcare Institute for the federal government in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The government argued that inaccuracies on these reports constituted intentional misrepresentations to maintain THI’s funding.
Robinson’s lawyers argued that the inaccuracies were due to human error, saying the reports were not tied to funding, often underreported grants and enrollment and that data was entered by Robinson’s administrative assistants, not by Robinson herself. The jury was split on these charges, finding Robinson guilty on two counts and not guilty on one.
“We do not think the jury had the whole picture of what was actually happening. This was a very complicated case that I don’t think a layman or the average person could understand without thorough background,” said Robinson Thursday evening on the Roland Martin Show.
Wire fraud is a class C felony that could result in imprisonment and fines up to $250,000. Judge Sheryl Lipman has scheduled Robinson’s sentencing for 9 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2022.