2 Nuns Steal $500,000 and Head Straight to Sin City

They embezzled the funds over 10-plus years.
  • Two nuns in California have admitted to embezzling roughly $500,000 from St. James Catholic School.
  • The “substantial” amount of money was stolen over the course of 10 years and spent on trips to Las Vegas and other activities.
  • While the school first declined to press criminal charges, as the investigation has continued its archdiocese is considering pursuing criminal proceedings.

Two Catholic nuns will likely be receiving coal in their stockings this Christmas. Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang allegedly stole around $500,000 from a Torrance, Calif., Catholic school where they were both employed.

Sadly, this isn’t a virtuous story of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. The two former educators and reported best friends stole from a tuition and donations fund for at least a decade and spent it on casino gambling and traveling, making for one unexpected money scam story.   

The pair retired earlier this year — Chang taught eighth grade for about 20 years and Kreuper was the principal for 29 years — and their exit is what precipitated the discovery of embezzled funds at St. James Catholic School. The school conducted a routine financial review after the change in leadership and, in a letter to parents, Monsignor Michael Meyers reported that a “substantial” amount of money had been taken.

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In his letter obtained by The Associated Press, Meyers continued that the two have acknowledged their wrongdoings and were remorseful. “Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana have expressed to me and asked that I convey to you, the deep remorse they each feel for their actions and ask for your forgiveness and prayers,” Meyers wrote. “They and their order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school.”

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The nuns and their order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, have promised to reimburse the school. While St. James Catholic School initially declined to press charges, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is now considering making it a criminal case, a diocese representative told ABC News.

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