Two California nuns who worked as educators embezzled $500,000 and spent it on travel and casinos. Now their order is tasked with returning the money.
Sister Margaret Kreuper, principal of St. James Catholic School in Torrance, California, and Sister Lana Chang, who worked as a teacher, had been siphoning money from tuition, fees, and donations into a “long forgotten” account for a decade, according to the Press-Telegram. After an anonymous tip and a check deposited into an account separate from the school’s, the archdiocese brought in a retired FBI agent to investigate.
They described a system in which Kreuper handled all checks made out to the school for tuition and fees before handing them over to bookkeeping staff for processing. The principal allegedly withheld some of the checks and deposited them into the other account, endorsing the back with a stamp that read, “St. James Convent” instead of “St. James School.”
It was common knowledge around the school that the pair liked to travel and gamble, but they claimed the money came from a “rich uncle.”
While Kreuper and Chang have been removed from the ministry, the archdiocese is declining to press charges. Meanwhile, the nuns’ order, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, will pay full restitution to the school.