Gambling, Embezzling Nun Pleads Guilty


Nun Holding Cross and Running, On Gray Background

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Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, the California nun who embezzled $835,000 from a Catholic elementary school to fund a gambling habit, is "very remorseful," her lawyers say. The 79-year-old agreed to plead guilty this week to federal charges that could send her to prison for up to 40 years.

Kreuper, who served as principal of the St. James Catholic School in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance from 1990 until her retirement in 2018, is "sorry for any harm she has caused," her lawyers said in a statement. Prosecutors say Kreuper diverted donations and tuition fees into a different account and used the funds for personal expenses, including large gambling expenses at Nevada casinos. The fraud was uncovered as the school prepared for the change of leadership in 2018. Kreuper, who took a vow of poverty when she became a nun at age 18, admitted responsibility when she was confronted and has been cooperating.