The nuns liked to gamble. Their parish learned that the hard way.
It wasn’t until Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang retired earlier this year from their jobs as principal and vice-principal of St. James Catholic School in Torrance, Calif., that the church stumbled upon what officials describe as a long con.
Over the course of roughly a decade, the sisters embezzled a “substantial amount” of money from the school, Msgr. Michael Meyers, the pastor of St. James Catholic Church, said in a letter to parishioners last month.
Their religious order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, said they had confessed to the “misappropriation of funds.”
At a meeting with parents last week, Monsignor Meyers estimated the amount of stolen money at $500,000. One church official said it was believed that they had spent at least part of that on gambling and trips to casinos.
“I can say that it has been shocking for everyone, the entire school community and the parish as well,” said Adrian Alarcon, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.