2 California Nuns Embezzled $500,000 From Catholic School: Officials

Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang are now living in separate convents, officials said.
Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper, left, and Lana Chang. Sisters of St. Joseph/Facebook

The nuns retired earlier this year, officials said.

Two California nuns allegedly stole some $500,000 from a Catholic school, using the money for activities including gambling and vacations, according to church officials.

Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang retired earlier this year from longtime positions at the St. James School in Los Angeles County. Kreuper served nearly 29 years as principal while Chang was an eight-grade teacher and later worked as vice principal, the archdiocese said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a letter to parishioners, Pastor Msgr. Michael Meyers of St. James Catholic Church said the alleged embezzlement came to light during financial audits conducted after a change in school leadership. No other staff has been implicated, the paper reported.

“I want to assure you that the investigation has disclosed that, notwithstanding this misappropriation, no student or program at St. James has suffered any loss of educational resources, opportunities, or innovations. In sum, the education of your children has not and will not be affected by these events,” Meyers wrote.

The funds were taken from donations and tuition paid to the school, Meyer said. The sisters, reportedly best friends, used the monies for trips and casino gambling, according to officials.

The alleged fraud had been going on for at least 10 years, according to The Washington Post. 

The nuns are currently living in separate convents and acknowledged their wrongdoing, Meyers said. Local police are investigating. Charges have not yet been filed.