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St James Catholic School 6202d299bbea3

Nun gets a year in prison for embezzling nearly $835,000 from California elementary school

Feb. 8, 2022
Mary Margaret Kreuper, 80, the former principal of St. James Catholic School in Torrance, used tuition money for personal vacations and casino outings.

An 80-year-old nun who embezzled nearly $835,000 from St. James Catholic School in Torrance, Calif., has been sentenced to serve a year in prison.

Mary Margaret Kreuper, the former principal of the elementary school, admitted to taking tuition money for casino outings, and personal vacations to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, The Los Angeles Times reports. 

U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II imposed the prison term and ordered Kreuper to pay $835,339 in restitution to St. James.

Kreuper, who retired in 2018 after 28 years as the school’s principal, pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud and money laundering.

The embezzled money could have paid for several students' tuitions along with field trips, new books and classroom supplies, prosecutors said. 

When the Archdiocese of Los Angeles confronted Kreuper about her misconduct, she argued that priests are better paid than nuns, and said she believed she deserved a raise, according to the government.

Kreuper promised to follow “more closely in Christ’s footsteps” and spend the rest of her life trying to make amends.

“I was wrong, and I am profoundly sorry for the pain and the suffering that I have caused so many people,” she told Wright. “I apologize for the public scandal, the embarrassment and the financial burden that I have placed on the sisters in my religious community, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, St. James School, the parishioners, parents and students who placed their trust in me.”

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