MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Amidst a federal probe into the nurse training school Sen. Katrina Robinson started, some former students are wondering if the grant money the senator allegedly spent on herself was really meant to help them.
A person who says she was a former student at the Healthcare Institute contacted WREG after hearing about the indictment, asking if that grant money was supposed to help students like herself who had been promised a scholarship.
The student has chosen to remain anonymous.
“We inquired, and they said you will be able to get scholarships up to $6,000 to $6,500, and the rest will be out of pocket. But we ended up having to pay the whole $10,000,” the student said.
The indictment says Robinson received more than $2 million in grant money between 2015 and 2019 to train certified nursing assistants and provide scholarships to low income individuals to complete the program.
But, investigators say Robinson spent hundreds of thousands on her personal debt, travel, clothes, cars, and her family.
According to court records, in December 2016 an anonymous person called the Department of Health and Human Services.
That person said Robinson bought a $550 Louis Vuitton handbag from them with the Healthcare Institute funds.
Investigators began looking at bank records from the school and found a pattern of federal grant funds deposited into the school’s Pinnacle bank account transferred into the schools’ Regions account and co-mingled with personal expenses.
About six doors down from the Healthcare Institute is another business Robinson is said to own. Investigators say she funded it with grant money.
The Celebrity Body Studio still has a sign on the door, but neighbors say they haven’t seen anyone there in months.
Court records say between 2017 and 2019 Robinson spent $63,000 on rent, construction and utilities at the studio.
No one answered when we called the studio number.
Robinson hasn’t said anything about the specifics of the charges, but her attorneys say she has a story to tell.
“To those students both past and present and future of the Healthcare Institute, I’m still committed to creating opportunities for you and your families,” Robinson said Wednesday.
But some students want to know if they can get their money back.
“When I heard about the money being misused, I was just wondering if there was a case for us to be able to get our money back?” the anonymous student said.
We reached out to Robinson Friday and asked her about the indictment. She declined to comment and said she would have someone contact us.