A nun in California is facing a year in prison over stealing $835,000 from a school which she used for personal expenditures including gambling.
Former Catholic School Principal Goes to Prison
On Monday this week, the Department of Justice Central District of California announced that Mary Margaret Kreuper, 80, was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison. Kreuper, of the Arlington Heights neighborhood in Los Angelis, pleaded guilty back in July 2021 to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
The nun admitted she embezzled more than $835,000. Overall, St. James Catholic School was defrauded $835,339 by Kreuper. Besides one year in prison, United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II ordered the defendant to pay $825,338 in restitution.
“Mary Margaret Kreuper, 80, of the Arlington Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II, who also ordered her to pay $825,338 in restitution,”
reads a statement released by the Department of Justice
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Torrance Police Department, in collaboration with the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation unit. According to court documents, Kreuper stole approximately $83,000 per year. This represents the equivalent of the tuition of 14 different students annually. Additionally, prosecutors argued the money had to be used for the students’ education and not to fund the nun’s lifestyle that even included gambling trips. Prosecutors cited letters from multiple parents and students that revealed how the school was lacking resources during Kreuper’s tenure.
The Nun Embezzled Money, Used Them for Gambling
Kreuper was a principal at the Catholic School for 28 years. But according to prosecutors, she was stealing from the school for 10 years until September 2018. While holding the position of a principal, the defendant was in charge of the money the school received to pay tuition fees and charitable donations. Additionally, Kreuper was in control of the school’s accounts related to the credit union and savings accounts that have been in place to pay the living expenses of the other nuns.
Despite taking a vow of poverty, Kreuper stole school funds which were later used for personal expenditures. According to those documents, the funds were used “to pay for expenses that the order would not have approved, much less paid for, including large gambling expenses incurred at casinos and certain credit card charges.”
What is more, to ensure the scheme remains unnoticed, Kreuper falsified monthly and annual reports. Those reports were then submitted to the school administration, which led them to believe that the finances were being safeguarded and properly accounted for. St. James School employees were also directed by Kreuper to destroy and alter various financial records during a school audit, according to the Department of Justice.