Bad habit: School nuns stole $500,000 to fund Vegas blowouts
Despite their vow of poverty, the pair hit Sin City casinos and lied to parents about where they got the cash
Two nuns have admitted embezzling $500,000 from a Catholic school to fund their gambling trips to Las Vegas, their order has revealed.
Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang, who are said to be best friends, stole the money from tuition fees and donations at St James School in Torrance, near Los Angeles. The pair, who had taken a vow of poverty, were known to make trips to Sin City and visit casinos, but reportedly told parents at the school that the money for the jaunts came from a rich relative.
Kreuper was the school’s headmistress for 29 years until she retired earlier this year while Chang was a teacher for 20 years before she stopped working at about the same time. Their fraudulent activities were discovered during a routine audit and it is believed they were operating their scheme for at least a decade, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said.
Parents at the school were informed about the situation on November 28 in a letter from the school’s pastor, Monsignor Michael Meyers. “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.
The nuns’ order, the Sister of St Joseph of Carondelet, has said it will repay the money. However, neither the school nor the church are willing to pursue criminal proceedings against the pair, incensing some parents. One father, Jack Alexander, said: “These nuns took a vow of poverty and said: ‘Oh no, we’ve got a rich uncle’. The rich uncle was the parents of the St James students.”
The total amount the nuns embezzled could grow to more than the reported figure of $500,000. The pair are reportedly co-operating with auditors to determine the full amount of stolen funds.
– © The Daily Telegraph