As a Catholic nun, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper had taken a vow of poverty.
However this week, prosecutors mentioned Sister Mary Margaret, 79, had agreed to plead responsible to stealing greater than $835,000 from a Catholic elementary faculty to help a playing behavior and to pay for different private bills.
Sister Mary Margaret was charged on Tuesday with wire fraud and cash laundering whereas she was the principal of St. James Catholic College in Torrance, Calif., the workplace of the U.S. legal professional for the Central District of California mentioned in a assertion. She is scheduled to look within the Federal District Court docket in Los Angeles on July 1.
Sister Mary Margaret admitted to a “fraudulent scheme” by which she “lulled St. James College and the administration into believing that the college’s funds have been being correctly accounted for and its monetary property correctly safeguarded,” prosecutors mentioned.
She confessed to inflicting losses to St. James Catholic College totaling $835,339 over the course of the scheme, the assertion mentioned. She retired as the college’s principal in 2018, after 28 years within the function, it mentioned.
In keeping with paperwork accompanying the plea settlement, Sister Mary Margaret diverted faculty funds into the college’s convent account and its federal credit score union financial savings account, after which used the cash for “bills that the order wouldn’t have accepted, a lot much less paid for,” together with massive playing bills at casinos in Nevada and bank card costs.
Sister Mary Margaret’s legal professionals, Mark A. Byrne and Daniel V. Nixon, mentioned she was “very remorseful.”
“As quickly as she was confronted she accepted full accountability for what she had completed and he or she has cooperated utterly with regulation enforcement and the Archdiocese,” they mentioned in an announcement. They added that “she has been affected by a psychological sickness that clouded her judgment and prompted her to do one thing that she in any other case wouldn’t have completed.”
They mentioned Sister Mary Margaret grew to become a nun when she was 18, and for the subsequent 59 years she devoted her life to “serving to others and educating kids in Archdiocesan faculties.”
Her non secular order, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, which based on courtroom paperwork was paying for her dwelling bills, mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday that it will not remark till the authorized course of was accomplished.
She additionally admitted to falsifying month-to-month and annual monetary studies, and to telling faculty staff to change and destroy monetary data throughout an audit, the prosecutors’ assertion and courtroom paperwork mentioned.
Concern over the college’s funds began to extend because the Archdiocese of Los Angeles started to arrange for the change of management in 2018, the archdiocese mentioned in an announcement. A monetary overview confirmed “a considerable quantity of faculty funds had been misappropriated for private use by Sister Mary Margaret,” it mentioned.
In December 2018, after a gathering with the archdiocese, the Torrance Police Division mentioned that it was dedicating extra staffing to assist study proof and discover individuals who had submitted tuition checks, account cost info or money donations.
In an announcement on Tuesday about Sister Mary Margaret’s responsible plea, the archdiocese mentioned the revelations had “shocked and saddened” the neighborhood.