Nun accused of embezzling over $800,000 for gambling habit, agrees to plead guilty

An expensive gambling habit has led to a now-retired nun to face up to 40 years in federal prison.

Mary Kreuper, 79, of Los Angeles, has agreed to plead guilty to fraud and money laundering charges after stealing more than $800,000 for personal expenses including a gambling habit. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Kreuper was the principal for St. James Catholic School for 28 years, ending in 2018. Over 10 of those years, she embezzled $835,000 in donations, tuition and fee money, the office said. 

Kreuper was in charge of the money the school received and as a part of her plea agreement admitted she diverted funds “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.” 

Kreuper and another nun, Lana Chang, made headlines back in 2018 after the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said the two may have taken as much as $500,000 to fund trips to Las Vegas. 

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The misuse of funds was detected during an audit after Kreuper’s retirement.  

“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,” Monsignor Michael Meyers of St. James Catholic School said in his letter. 

Information gained by prosecutors also “allege that Kreuper directed St. James School employees to alter and destroy financial records during a school audit.” 

Kreuper is due back in court on July 1 for her arraignment.  

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Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: [email protected]

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