An 80-year-old nun who gambled away more than $835,000 in school funds was sentenced to twelve months and a day in federal prison Monday, according to a press release from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, who was principal of St. James Catholic School in Torrance, California, used the school funds to pay for personal expenses, including gambling trips, according to the release. Kreuper stole the funds over the course of ten years, ending in 2018.
As principal of St. James Catholic School, she oversaw the money the school received to pay for tuition and fees as well as charitable donations. She also controlled two savings accounts, one for the school and one for the nuns’ living expenses.
The DOJ noted that Kreuper had diverted the school funds “to pay for expenses that the order [of nuns] would not have approved.” Among the expenses Kreuper accrued were those from casinos and credit card charges. Kreuper falsified monthly and annual reports to cover up her crime and asked school employees to alter and destroy financial records during an audit. (RELATED: Nuns Allegedly Stole Catholic School Funds For Years: Report)
Kreuper originally pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering back in 2021. Along with her sentence, she was ordered to pay $825,338 in restitution.
“I have sinned, I have broken the law and I have no excuses,” Kreuper told the judge during her hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Kreuper belongs to the order of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.