A nun in Los Angeles stole more than $800,000 from a Catholic school she oversaw and used the money to fund gambling trips, federal prosecutor claims. The now-retired sister is set to plead guilty and faces decades in prison.
Mary Margaret Kreuper, 79, was charged by federal prosecutors in California this week with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
Prosecutors filed a plea agreement in which Kreuper agreed to plead guilty to the charges. She will be sentenced at a later date and faces up to 40 years behind bars.
Kreuper — who had previously taken a vow of poverty — oversaw the St. James Catholic School in the Los Angeles area for 28 years. She was responsible for tuition money and charitable donations, according to federal prosecutors.
For 10 years, ending in September 2018, Kreuper embezzled money from the school, prosecutors noted.
Kreuper controlled the accounts at a credit union, including a savings account for the school and one established to pay the living expenses of the nuns employed there.
Kreuper diverted school funds and used them “to pay for expenses that the order would not have approved, much less paid for, including large gambling expenses incurred at casinos and certain credit card charges,” according to prosecutors.
In her plea agreement, Kreuper admitted she falsified monthly and annual reports to the school administration to cover up her fraudulent conduct, prosecutors stated.
She “lulled St. James School and the Administration into believing the school’s finances were being properly accounted for,” which allowed Kreuper to continue stealing funds, according to prosecutors.
Kreuper also allegedly diverted St. James School employees to alter and destroy financial records during a school audit.
During the scheme, Kreuper admitted that she stole more than $835,000 from St. James Catholic School.