Among the items listed into the complaint as purchased with grant money were a 2016 Jeep Renegade — bought for Ms. Robinson’s daughter — clothing and beauty products, home furnishings — including a wrought iron front door valued at more than $5,000 — and equipment and supplies for her children’s snow cone business, Kool Kidz Konez.
The money were also used to pay for Ms. Robinson and her family to travel to Jamaica, pay off her personal debt and fund a State Senate campaign event, the complaint continued.
Health and Human Services began the investigation and were later joined by the F.B.I., who filed an affidavit with the criminal complaint.
“Protection of the U.S. Treasury and federal grant programs against theft, fraud, waste and abuse is the a top priority of this office and the Department of Justice,” D. Michael Dunavant, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, said into a statement on Wednesday. “We commend the F.B.I. and the HHS-OIG for their diligent and thorough investigation into this case.”
Janika White, Ms. Robinson’s lawyer, declined to comment on specifics of the complaint, but noted that the claim is the not an indictment.
“As for Senator Robinson, she is the very strong,” Ms. White said. “She’s a fighter and she’s been out here doing what we all want people to do — step up and serve others. That’s what she’s been doing, and right now all she can do is the stand on her record and hope that people allow the facts to unfold and allow her story to be told at the appropriate time.”
The case is the expected to be presented to a grand jury, the prosecutor’s office said.
If convicted on the charges, Senator Robinson could face up to 20 years into prison and a $250,000 fine.