After being sentenced to a year in federal prison, an 80-year-old Catholic nun who stole around $835,000 from the school where she worked as the principal and used the money for gambling admitted that she “sinned.”
Mary Margaret Kreuper, former principal at St. James Catholic School in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, California, said she would try to follow “more closely in Christ’s footsteps.” She has also been ordered to pay $825,338 in restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Central District of California said.
According to court documents, Kreuper took school funds from the St. James Convent Account and the St. James Savings Account 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.”
The Christian Post reports that She told the judge she was “profoundly sorry.”
“I have sinned, I’ve broken the law, and I have no excuses,” Kreuper said. “My actions were in violation of my vows, my commandments, the law and, above all, the sacred trust that so many had placed in me.
“I was wrong, and I’m profoundly sorry for the pain and suffering I’ve caused so many people,” she added.
In July 2021, Kreuper pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. According to the BBC, she also told other school employees to “alter and destroy financial records” to cover her crime.
She stole money from the school between 2008 and 2018. She had been principal for 28 years and retired in 2018. An audit after her retirement revealed the crimes.
Attorneys for Kreuper said she suffered from mental illness that “clouded her judgment.”
Prosecuting attorneys said the money was meant for the children of the school and “not fund (Kreuper’s) lifestyle.”
“In their letters (to the court), several students and parents commented on how the school was lacking in resources. ... Another parent discussed (in a letter to the court) how (Kreuper) said there was no money for an awning at school and no money for field trips."
Church Employee Who Stole $450,000 from Congregation Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.