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‘I Have Sinned’: 80-Year-Old Nun Imprisoned For Embezzling $835,000 From School To Cover Gambling Debt

Photo: Twitter
Nun Mary Margaret Kreuper

Nuns and embezzlement aren’t really words that usually go together in the same sentence, much less nuns, embezzlement and gambling.

But that’s exactly where we are today with an 80-year-old nun who has been less than righteous in the past decade.

An 80-year-old nun has been sentenced to prison for embezzling money from a school.

Mary Margaret Kreuper, a nun who previously served as the principal of St. James Catholic School in California, has now been sentenced to a year in federal prison for crimes committed while in her position.

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Kreuper had a pretty severe habit of gambling and has been found guilty of embezzling funds from the Catholic school where she worked in order to feed her habit.

Over a period of 10 years from 2008 to 2018, Kreuper stole funds from the school and lost it at casinos.

In total, Kreuper is believed to have stolen $835,000 from the school during her tenure as principal.

In 2018, a change of managment at the school prompted financial reviews which exposed the missing funds.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which oversees the school, said these reviews, "Showed a substantial amount of school funds had been misappropriated for personal use by Sister Mary Margaret during her tenure as school principal.”

While Kreuper managed to get away with the embezzlement for all 10 years that she was in her position as principal, the law has finally caught up with her and now she will face time in federal prison.

In July of 2021, Kreuper pled guilty to a count of wire fraud and a count of money laundering.

Of her past actions, Kreuper said, “I have sinned, I’ve broken the law and I have no excuses… My actions were in violation of my vows, my commandments, the law and, above all, the sacred trust that so many had placed in me. I was wrong and I’m profoundly sorry for the pain and suffering I’ve caused so many people.”

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The prosecution was not exactly sympathetic to Kreuper, focusing on the students that she effectively stole from, saying that she, “stole the equivalent of the tuition of 14 different students per year."

The prosecution said that the money was "intended to further the students' education, not fund (Kreuper's) lifestyle.”

Kreuper took a plea deal with the prosecution.

In Kreuper’s plea she specifically acknowledged that she stole the money in order to cover, “expenses that the order would not have approved, much less paid for, including large gambling expenses incurred at casinos and certain credit card charges.”

In response to both her crimes and her sentencing, Kreuper’s lawyer has said, “She is very sorry for what she's done, very remorseful, very ashamed, very embarrassed and accepts full responsibility for her actions.”

Kreuper, who had previously taken a vow of poverty, was also ordered to pay $825,338 in restitution.

I’d be sorry too.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.