80-Year-Old Nun in California Charged After Embezzling $835,000 From a Catholic School to Fuel Gambling Habit

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Guess this nun didn’t think the vow of poverty applied to her.

Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper is a Catholic nun who was just sentenced to a year and one day in federal prison. Prosecutors say the 80-year-old embezzled over $835,000 from St. James Catholic School in Torrance, California. 

Sister Mary was principal of the school for almost 30 years before she retired in 2018. She diverted funds from school tuition and charitable donations into secret accounts for about ten years, but it wasn’t discovered until she retired.

The money was used for trips to Las Vegas, Reno, and Temecula, and large gambling expenses, according to Sister Mary’s plea agreement.

The Catholic Church diocese chose not to press charges against Sister Mary. Still, the Torrance Police Department, the FBI, and the IRS Criminal Investigation unit investigated the allegations against her. 

She pled guilty to the fraud and money laundering charges in July 2021 and will have to turn herself into the Federal Bureau of Prisons by June 7 to start her sentence.

Sister Mary stole “the equivalent of the tuition of 14 different students per year,” according to prosecutors. They note that this was all while telling parents, “there was no money for an awning at school and no money for field trips.”