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Gambling habit: Nun admits squandering school cash at casinos

By Reuters | June 10th 2021

She admitted to diverting school funds for expenses.

A retired California nun has agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud and money laundering charges for stealing more than Sh90 million ($835,000) from a school to pay for personal expenses including gambling trips, the Justice Department said.

Mary Margaret Kreuper, 79, faces a maximum jail time of 40 years in federal prison for the charges, according to a Tuesday statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Central District of California.

For a period of 10 years ending in September 2018, Kreuper embezzled money from St James Catholic School, where she worked as principal, the statement said.

She admitted to diverting school funds for expenses her religious order would not have approved, including "large gambling expenses incurred at casinos" and credit card bills, despite her vow of poverty as a nun.

Kreuper admitted in her plea agreement that she falsified monthly and annual reports to the school administration to cover up her fraudulent conduct and misled her school administration into believing the finances were properly accounted for.

The criminal information also alleges that Kreuper directed St. James School employees to alter and destroy financial records during a school audit, the Justice Department statement said.

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