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US nun admits to 'have sinned' after being jailed for stealing $835K from school

by Kelly Valencia

A US nun has been jailed for a year after being found guilty of stealing hundreds of thousands from a Catholic school. 

Mary Margaret Kreuper admitted to stealing $835,000 (£614,000) to finance personal holidays to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, as well as paying for "large gambling expenses incurred at casinos". 

The 80-year-old pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering after embezzling money during the ten years she worked as principal at St. James Catholic School, in the US state of California. 

"I have sinned, I've broken the law and I have no excuses," Kreuper said during her sentencing, according to The Guardian.

"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."

Kreuper had worked as headmaster in the school for more than 28 years. In 2018, during a change of management at the school, concerns were raised over missing funds.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which oversees the school, said these reviews, "showed a substantial amount of school funds had been misappropriated for personal use by Sister Mary Margaret during her tenure as school principal."

Otis D. Wright II, the U.S. district judge overseeing the case, said shared he had struggled with the sentence as he could not get himself to judge Kreuper solely on "the worst thing that she's done in her life."

"I haven't slept well in God knows how long," Judge Wright said, according to the LA Times. 

Kreuper was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 months and a day in federal prison, and has been ordered to pay $825,338 in restitution.

She told the judge: "I was wrong, and I am profoundly sorry for the pain and the suffering that I have caused so many people".

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