Nun Stole Over $800,000 to Support Gambling Behavior, Prosecutors Say
As a Catholic nun, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper had taken a vow of poverty.
However this week, prosecutors mentioned Sister Mary Margaret, 79, had agreed to plead responsible to stealing greater than $835,000 from a Catholic elementary faculty to assist a playing behavior and to pay for different private bills.
Sister Mary Margaret was charged on Tuesday with wire fraud and cash laundering whereas she was the principal of St. James Catholic Faculty in Torrance, Calif., the workplace of the U.S. lawyer for the Central District of California mentioned in an announcement. She is scheduled to seem within the Federal District Courtroom in Los Angeles on July 1.
Sister Mary Margaret admitted to a “fraudulent scheme” during which she “lulled St. James Faculty and the administration into believing that the varsity’s funds had been being correctly accounted for and its monetary belongings correctly safeguarded,” prosecutors mentioned.
She confessed to inflicting losses to St. James Catholic Faculty totaling $835,339 over the course of the scheme, the assertion mentioned. She retired as the varsity’s principal in 2018, after 28 years within the position, it mentioned.
In accordance to paperwork accompanying the plea settlement, Sister Mary Margaret diverted faculty funds into the varsity’s convent account and its federal credit score union financial savings account, after which used the cash for “bills that the order wouldn’t have accredited, a lot much less paid for,” together with massive playing bills at casinos in Nevada and bank card costs.
Sister Mary Margaret’s legal professionals, Mark A. Byrne and Daniel V. Nixon, mentioned she was “very remorseful.”
“As quickly as she was confronted she accepted full duty for what she had performed and he or she has cooperated utterly with legislation enforcement and the Archdiocese,” they mentioned in an announcement. They added that “she has been affected by a psychological sickness that clouded her judgment and prompted her to do one thing that she in any other case wouldn’t have performed.”
They mentioned Sister Mary Margaret grew to become a nun when she was 18, and for the subsequent 59 years she devoted her life to “serving to others and educating youngsters in Archdiocesan faculties.”
Her non secular order, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, which in accordance to court docket paperwork was paying for her residing bills, mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday that it might not remark till the authorized course of was accomplished.
She additionally admitted to falsifying month-to-month and annual monetary experiences, and to telling faculty staff to alter and destroy monetary information throughout an audit, the prosecutors’ assertion and court docket paperwork mentioned.
Concern over the varsity’s funds began to enhance because the Archdiocese of Los Angeles started to put together for the change of management in 2018, the archdiocese mentioned in an announcement. A monetary overview confirmed “a considerable quantity of faculty funds had been misappropriated for private use by Sister Mary Margaret,” it mentioned.
In December 2018, after a gathering with the archdiocese, the Torrance Police Division mentioned that it was dedicating further staffing to assist look at proof and discover individuals who had submitted tuition checks, account fee info or money donations.
In an announcement on Tuesday about Sister Mary Margaret’s responsible plea, the archdiocese mentioned the revelations had “shocked and saddened” the group.
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