Nun spent $835,000 in casinos from Catholic school budget
Mary Margaret Crooper, an 80-year-old nun with a gambling addiction, spent $835,000 in casinos from the Catholic school budget. She will now spend a year and a day in jail for fraud and money laundering.
“I have sinned, I have broken the law, and I have no excuses,” Mary said during her sentencing in Los Angeles.
For more than a decade, Croeper embezzled funds and donations as principal of St. James Catholic School in California. To cover up the crime, the nun ordered her subordinates to rewrite or destroy financial records.
The prosecution believed that the stolen money could have covered the school’s tuition for more than a dozen students, but instead went to casino trips and entertainment for Crooper and her friends. The scheme was uncovered during an audit of the school after the principal retired in 2018.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II said he took into account pleas for forgiveness from Catholic families whose children attended St. James. In addition to 366 days behind bars, Mary must pay the school $835,339 in restitution.