Nun admits to stealing over $835,000 from her school to help finance gambling habit, feds say
June 10, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 55.5%. 1 min read.
A now-retired nun will plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges for stealing more than $835,000 for gambling and other personal expenses from the Southern California school that she ran, federal prosecutors say.
Mary Margaret Kreuper, a 79-year-old Los Angeles resident, violated her vow of poverty during a 10-year period in which she pocketed tuition money, fees and charitable donations intended for St. James Catholic School in Torrance, California, according to a plea agreement with US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
Byrne said in a statement that Kreuper became a nun at 18 and "dedicated her life to helping others and educating children in Archdiocesan schools. "
During her 28 years as principal, Kreuper oversaw funds the school received, including cash and checks for tuition, fees and donations, according to the plea agreement.
Kreuper was a signatory on a pair of credit union accounts -- a school savings account and a "convent" account to pay for living expenses for herself and others nun at the school, the plea agreement said.
But Kreuper "fraudulently diverted" checks and cash intended for the school into the two accounts she controlled "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," according to the agreement.
To conceal the scheme, Kreuper falsified monthly and annual school financial reports, the agreement said.
"By falsifying these reports in this way, defendant Kreuper lulled St. James School and the Administration into believing the school's finances were being properly accounted for and its financial assets properly safeguarded, which, in turn, allowed defendant Kreuper to maintain her access and control of the school's finances and accounts and thus, to continue operating the fraudulent scheme," the agreement said.