FBI searches home and nursing school founded by Tennessee state Sen. Katrina Robinson

Updated: Feb. 21, 2020 at 1:46 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed search warrants Friday at the home of state Sen. Katrina Robinson as well as a Memphis nursing school she founded.

The FBI confirmed with WMC Action News 5 that agents were at the Healthcare Institute Inc. at 7253 Winchester Rd. Friday as well as Robinson’s home near Holmes Road and Forrest Hill Irene Road.

The FBI said no one was arrested during the searches but wouldn’t give more details about the warrants.

"I just noticed FBI pulling up like a parade. It kind of scared me and it was a lot of them. All of a sudden, they just started raiding everything."

The barber, who works down from the Healthcare Institute on Winchester, didn’t know what was going on Friday morning when agents showed up.

Marcellus Lewis works at a nearby tax preparer business.

"When I had pulled up, I was like, ‘What's going on?’ They was just pulling records out so I knew right then it was something not right," said Lewis.

Kevin Payne was renting a car when he saw the agents pulling file cabinets from the Healthcare Institute.

"Regular file cabinets that you see if you working in an establishment, put the files in them,” said Payne.

Students say there were asked to leave the building while the FBI conducted a search.

Nicole (doesn't want to use her last name) is a student at the Healthcare Institute.

She's been in the field for 17 years but wanted to further her education.

"It meant the most to me. I sacrificed a lot to come here to be able to do better,” she said.

Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson founded the school in 2015.

According to the school's website, Senator Robinson received a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services for its Educate to Empower Program which educates Certified Nursing Assistants into the geriatric workforce.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the school has received more than $2 million in grants from 2015-2019. Those grants went to the "Geriatrics Workforce enhancement Program."

According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Healthcare Institute had 26 students in the 2018-2019 school year compared to 258 in the 2017-2018 school year.

Katrina Robinson has been in the news in the past.

She is the sister of Sherra Wright, the former wife of NBA star Lorenzen Wright.

We reached out to Robinson by phone and went to her home.

We didn't hear back, but we received a statement from the Tennessee Senate Press Secretary that says in part:

“We’ve been made aware of the investigation and have received no indication that it relates to the legislature or her legislative service.”

Robinson’s press secretary, Brandon Puttbrese, released the following statement Friday:

We’ve been made aware of the investigation and have received no indication that it relates to the legislature or her legislative service.

Because the investigation is ongoing, we will not be making additional statements and will defer any further questions to Sen. Robinson’s attorney.

Our thoughts are with Sen. Robinson and her family.

Robinson holds the District 33 seat, representing part of Shelby County.

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