Two Roman Catholic nuns have admitted to embezzling $500,000 from a parochial school in Torrance, California, according to news reports. They are believed to have spent some of the money on travel and casino gambling.
“It is with much sadness that I am informing families of St. James School that an internal investigation has revealed that, over a period of years, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang have been involved in the personal use of a substantial amount of School funds,” Monsignor Michael Meyers wrote in a letter dated Nov. 28.
The matter came to the attention of church officials in an audit related to a change in leadership at the school, Meyers said. No other school personnel are believed to be involved in the embezzlement.
Sister Mary Margaret had been principal of the school for 28 years before retiring in June, CNN said. Sister Lana was an eighth grade teacher for 20 years at the K-8 school. She also retired this year.
“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’ letter said. “They and their Order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school.”
Initially, the church indicated that it would not press charges against the women because they had expressed remorse, the Long Beach Press-Telegram said. But ABC News reported on Sunday that a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said that it will pursue a criminal case because the investigation has deepened.
This story has been updated to specify the location of the school.