Nuns ‘steal’ $500k to gamble in Vegas
TWO nuns who formerly worked at St James Catholic School in Torrance, California, confessed to embezzling at least $US500,000 ($A692,000) from the school so that they could gamble it away at Las Vegas casinos, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said at a meeting with parents and alumni on Monday, the New York Post reported.
Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, who worked as the school principal for 28 years, and Sister Lana Chang, a teacher at the school for 20 years, reportedly siphoned the funds over a period of at least a decade, the Press-Telegram reported.
The sisters, described as best friends, both retired earlier this year.
Officials made the discovery in June after performing a routine audit following the principal's retirement.
The Rev Michael Meyers, the church's monsignor, said Sister Mary Margaret was "very nervous and anxious" during the audit and she reportedly asked staff members to change school records. Rev Meyers reported it to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who hired another auditor.
The auditor found that tuition cheques, fees and donations were being deposited into a bank account not used by the school. The sisters later confessed to using the funds for themselves.
"We do know that they had a pattern of going on trips. We do know they had a pattern of going to casinos, and the reality is, they used the account as their personal account," a lawyer told parents and alumni at Monday's meeting.
Church officials said they did not wish to press charges against the sisters, who both expressed remorse. Police will still present the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, NBC reported.
"Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana have expressed to me and asked that I convey to you, the deep remorse they each feel for their actions and ask for your forgiveness and prayers," Meyers wrote in a letter to parents on November 28.
"They and their Order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school. Let us pray for our school families and for Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana," the letter added.
This article originally appeared on New York Post and was reproduced with permission