James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Nun to plead guilty for stealing $835k to fund gambling habit
9 June 2021, 09:26
A nun who took a vow of poverty will plead guilty to stealing over $800,000 from a school to pay for her gambling habit.
Mary Margaret Kreuper, 79, from Los Angeles, has agreed to plead guilty to US federal charges after she was charged with wire fraud and money laundering.
In her plea agreement, released by the US Attorney's Office in California, she acknowledged diverting around $835,000 (£590,000) during her 28-year position as principal of St James Catholic School in the LA suburb of Torrance.
It is alleged she used the money for personal expenses, including credit card charges and large gambling expenses at casinos.
Prosecutors say she “lulled St James School and the Administration into believing that the school’s finances were being properly accounted for" which allowed her to "continue operating the fraudulent scheme" for a decade.
The vow of poverty, which all nuns take, is a belief that here is no need for luxurious items and that any money earned should be shared equally.
Ms Kreuper could face up to 40 years in prison for the offences.
A statement from her legal team said that Ms Kreuper was “very remorseful for what happened" and had been cooperating with police and LA's Roman Catholic Archdiocese.
The statement read: “Unfortunately, later in her life she has been suffering from a mental illness that clouded her judgment and caused her to do something that she otherwise would not have done.
“She is very sorry for any harm she has caused."
Ms Kreuper will formally enter her plea at a hearing on 1 July.