Two nuns admit to embezzling cash for Vegas gambling trips

Sister Margaret Kreuper. Credit ABC News

Sister Margaret Kreuper. Credit ABC News

Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang, who are said to be best friends, took the money from tuition, fees and donations at St. James Catholic School in Torrance, south of Los Angeles.

It was only during a recent audition of the school's accounts that evidence was uncovered suggesting they had been taking money intended for the school and using it to fund trips to a casino where they are thought to have gambled using more ill-gotten gains.

Kreuper was a former principal at the school where she worked for 20 years until her retirement earlier this year.

The archdiocese has reported the situation to police.

During that time Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper was the school's principal and Sister Lana Chang taught eighth grade students. Archdiocese lawyer Marge Graf told parents that the nuns' order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, has agreed to pay the school full restitution and impose "severe sanctions" on the two women.

The nuns were allegedly able to hide their actions by depositing a number of cheques made out to the school for tuition and other fees into a separate bank account not used by the school.

It came to light that a "long forgotten" bank account - St. James Convent instead of St. James School - opened by the church in 1997 was being used for checks that Sr.

Sister Lana Chang. Credit ABC News
Sister Lana Chang. Credit ABC News

"We were an ATM, and people know it and they won't ask for justice", Jack Alexander, a parent at St. James, told the Southern California News Group.

The embezzlement from Saint James Catholic School in Torrance appears to have gone on for up to 10 years, Archdiocese of Los Angeles media relations director Adrian Alarcon said.

The accused nuns feel a "deep remorse" for their actions and are asking for "forgiveness and prayers", Meyers wrote in his letter to parents. "They and their Order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school".

ABC News could not immediately reach a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for comment.

Monsignor Meyers said when they were confronted, both nuns acknowledged the theft, apologised and were cooperating with an ongoing investigation.

"At our School, we have initiated additional procedures and oversight policies for financial management and reporting responsibilities".

"They convicted the sisters before they actually have the facts on hand, that is the thing that disturbed me the most", Samantha Pierce, an alumni who son also graduated from the school, told the Press-Telegram.

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