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80-year-old nun sentenced to a year in prison for stealing $835,000 from elementary school to pay her gambling debt

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Image Source: KTLA-TV YouTube video screenshot composite

An 80-year-old nun pleaded guilty to stealing $835,000 from a Catholic elementary school in order to fund her gambling debts and received a sentence of one year in prison.

The startling story unfolded in Torrance, California, at the St. James Catholic School.

Mary Margaret Kreuper was charged with wire fraud and money laundering during the last ten years of her 28-year tenure as principal of the school.

Kreuper was in charge of the charitable donations to the school, but she skimmed the money for herself instead. She was also in charge of money paid to the school for tuition and other fees.

The U.S. attorney's office said she admitted to stealing the money partly to pay for her debts from gambling at casinos. She was also accused of covering up her crime by falsifying annual and monthly financial records.

The nun was facing up to 40 years in prison but was sentenced instead to one year in jail, and she will have to pay back the full sum she stole from the school.

"I have sinned, I've broken the law and I have no excuses," Kreuper said about the charges.

"My actions were in violation of my vows, my commandments, the law and, above all, the sacred trust that so many had placed in me," she added. "I was wrong and I'm profoundly sorry for the pain and suffering I've caused so many people."

The school originally told parents in a letter that they would not seek criminal charges against Kreuper and an accomplice because they vowed to pay restitution, but they had a change of heart after pushback from the parents.

One parent called the situation "crazy" and "very disturbing."

Here's a local news report about the gambling nun:

Nun sentenced to federal prison time www.youtube.com

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