A Southern California Catholic school recently discovered that two of its nuns were low-key bon vivants who embezzled approximately $500,000 to go gambling and take vacations — a clear violation of that whole vow of poverty thing.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that about six months ago, the Los Angeles archdiocese first became aware that something was off with St. James Catholic School’s funds during a standard audit. This, combined with a mysterious check and nervous behavior from one of the nuns, prompted church leaders to launch an internal investigation, the results of which pointed them in the direction of two women: former teacher Sister Lana Chang and former principal Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper.
Apparently, the nuns pilfered the half-million dollars over at least decade, to which they recently admitted. Because the nuns have agreed to pay back the stolen funds and allegedly expressed deep remorse, archdiocese lawyer Marge Graf told parents that the school would not seek to press charges.
Although church leaders were shocked to discover the sisters had been embezzling from tuition and other school funds, BuzzFeed News reports that past and current families connected to the school have been writing social-media posts about how they’re not all that surprised to learn of the nuns’ behavior, as their beloved pastimes of traveling and gambling — both of which require a decent amount of money! — weren’t exactly secret.
“We do know that they had a pattern of going on trips, we do know they had a pattern of going to casinos,” Graf told parents. “And the reality is, they used the account as their personal account.”
It didn’t seem possible, but these nuns may have outdone the two sister lunch ladies who were accused of pilfering nearly $500,000 from their schools in lunch money.