Story at a glance

  • A retired nun who served as a school principal agreed to plead guilty to fraud and money laundering charges for embezzling more than $835,000 to finance personal expenses, including gambling, prosecutors said Tuesday.
  • Federal authorities charged 79-year-old Mary Margaret Kreuper with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering for her role in the scheme while principal of St. James Catholic School in Los Angeles.
  • The charges carry a maximum 40-year sentence.

A retired nun who served as a school principal agreed to plead guilty to fraud and money laundering charges for embezzling more than $835,000 to finance personal expenses, including gambling, prosecutors said Tuesday

Federal authorities charged 79-year-old Mary Margaret Kreuper with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering for her role in the scheme while principal of St. James Catholic School in Los Angeles — an alleged plot that spanned a decade. The charges carry a maximum 40-year sentence. 

Prosecutors said Kreuper, who reportedly enacted the plan with a fellow teacher, Sister Lana Chang, was in charge of payments made to the school and various credit union and savings accounts. 

Kreuper “diverted school funds into the St. James Convent Account and the St. James Savings Account and then, as she admitted in her plea agreement, used the 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,” the statement said. 


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School officials uncovered the act in June 2018 during a routine audit after Kreuper retired. The Rev. Michael Meyers, the church’s monsignor at the time, said Kreuper seemed “very nervous and anxious,” which led him to report it to the archdiocese, The New York Post reported.

Meyers wrote in a letter to parents in November 2018 that the pair asked him to express their “deep remorse” and request the parents' “forgiveness and prayers.”

“They and their Order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school. Let us pray for our school families and for Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana,” Myers added, according to The New York Post. 

Kreuper, who served as the school’s principal for 28 years, admitted in her plea agreement that she also covered her tracks by falsifying documents as well as directing school employees to destroy financial statements to camouflage “the fraudulent scheme.”

She is expected to be arraigned July 1. 


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Published on Jun 09, 2021