Nun charged by feds for embezzling $835K from Catholic school she ran, used some funds for gambling

The nun had taken a vow of poverty before embezzling money from the school.
Nun headstone.

Federal prosecutors have charge a nun who ran a California Catholic elementary school with embezzling roughly $835,000 in school funds to pay for personal expenses including gambling trips.

Prosecutors charge Mary Margaret Kreuper, 79, on Friday with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. The charges were filed as part of deal with prosecutors in which Kreuper plead guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, according to the Justice Department.

Kreuper was the principal of St. James Catholic School in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, a post she held for 28 years. As principal, she had control over the school's tuition and fee money, money from charitable donations, and access to a savings account used by the school to pay nuns' living expenses.

With the embezzled money, she told investigators she paid off credit card charges and took trips to casinos where she incurred large gambling expenses.

For a period of 10 years ending in 2018, Kreuper embezzled money from the school by diverting funds from the school's savings account. She told that she "lulled" the administration into believing the school’s finances were being properly accounted for and its financial assets properly safeguarded."

She is set to plead guilty on July 1.