Two nuns embezzle half a million dollars to gamble in Las Vegas, face NO charges

Posting may be light today as I’m writing for real (i.e., not on this site, and for dosh) with two deadlines. Like Maru, I do my best. Please enjoy—if that’s the right word—this short BBC article that’s at once funny and irritating (click on the screenshot):

The funny part is, of course, the idea of nuns stealing money to gamble. And they did (emphasis is the BBC’s):

Two nuns who worked at a Catholic school in California have admitted embezzling about $500,000 (£396,000) and using it to gamble in Las Vegas.

Sisters Mary Kreuper and Lana Chang took the money from St James’ Catholic School in the city of Torrance, near Los Angeles, to spend in casinos.

The pair, who are said to be best friends, took funds from an account holding tuition fees and donations.

The sisters, who recently retired, have expressed remorse for their actions.

Mary Kreuper was the school principal for 29 years, while Lana Chang worked as a teacher for about 20 years. They are thought to have stolen the money over a period of at least a decade to spend on travel and gambling.

. . . The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said the church discovered that the money was missing during a routine audit.

The nuns were allegedly able to conceal their actions by depositing a number of cheques made out to the school for tuition and other fees into a separate bank account not used by the school.

The not so funny part is that the money was substantial (I can’t get too worked up about the Catholic Church losing it, though), and, most of all, that the nuns didn’t even face charges, although they’ve resigned:

On Monday, St James’ Catholic Church said the nuns had expressed “deep remorse” over their actions, adding that while the police had been informed, no criminal charges would be brought against the pair.

Once again religion gets a pass. These nuns are admitted felons, yet no charges will be brought. Although they’re no longer Brides of Jesus, they can live their lives without stigma, opprobrium, or any jail time. And there’s no God to punish them, either.

I’ve sent the article to the FFRF for possible inclusion in the “black collar crime” section of their monthly newspaper: a long listing of all the priests, preachers, and nuns recently found guilty of committing crimes.

h/t: Kevin

54 Comments

  1. Colin
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I always get a chuckle at that old yarn from the theist camp, “Where do you get your morality from?”

    • Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      No true Christian would embezzle money from the Church.

      Or put porridge in their tea or something.

  2. enl
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Note that they have no worry of punishment from they god they (reputedly) believe in, as they have been absolved through confession and, presumably, penance.

    It’s a nice gig, if you can stomach it.

  3. Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Apparently they were not Real Christians(tm). Real Christians do not do such things.

    • Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Of course, you are right! Real Christians© go big or go home. Like Peter Popoff, still in the biz.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Oh, man, this’s got blockbuster potential! Boffo box office! I’m workin’ on the movie treatment right now. I see Melissa McCarthy as the fat nun, Emma Stone as the skinny nun. Hijinks ensue. They hit the big jackpot at the Bellagio at the end, just in time, and with just enough money left over after paying the school back, to get the life-saving operation for one of their fathers. Everyone lives happily, and wiser, ever after.

    “Inspired by true events. Characters and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes.” Fade to black.

    I can hear the soundtrack, and the cash register going ka-ching!, in my head already.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Uh-oh, I just saw that one of the nuns is named “Lana Chang.” Emma Stone’s out; Lucy Liu’s in. Hollywood will dig the diversity.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Rule number one of “Sexy Nuns in Hollywood Scripts Club” is that you don’t talk about “Sexy Nuns in Hollywood Scripts Club”.

        Rule number two is that you can always raise the hemline by an inch. For all values of “always“. As nuns, they’re scandal-proof.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          There was an Elvis movie entitled Change of Habit, co-starring Mary Tyler Moore as the nun the King falls in love with.

          Elvis played a doctor, as I recall — against type, ya might say.

        • David Coxill
          Posted December 11, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          There is a film titled Nude nuns with big guns ,that gets a regular showing on the horror channel .The title says it all .

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 12, 2018 at 2:38 am | Permalink

            I had to Google it.

            Did you know that “nunsploitation” was a word? You do now. 8-(

            It gets better –
            “The film was the subject of one of the largest copyright lawsuits in California. The two lawsuits are the first time that two different companies claiming the intellectual-property rights of the same movie are each suing the same alleged 5,865 BitTorrent downloaders.”

            cr

            • David Coxill
              Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

              “Nunsploitation” ,i think NNWBG was not released ,just let go .

      • Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        My first thought when I saw one of the nuns was named Chang was that she was probably the ringleader since Asians love to gamble. (A stereotype but the casinos in Gardena (near Torrance) are almost totally catering to Asian gamblers. In fact, it is such a stereotype they might have to change the character in the movie to a non-Asian.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          A client of mine used to own the “Bicycle Club” cardroom near there (well, not on paper, but he was the real owner). You know it?

          • Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

            Sure. I recognize the name and see their ads on billboards and TV. I’m not a gambler myself, never saw the attraction, but my wife is Korean and some of her friends talk about it like it’s the most natural thing in the world. I don’t get it. It doesn’t appeal to my logical side or my pleasure-seeking side.

          • tomh
            Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            @ Ken Kucek
            Was your client that old crook Sam Gilbert, who built the Bicycle? I spent many hours in the club in eighties, during my misspent younger days.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

              My client is Ben Kramer, the marijuana smuggling kingpin. He put up the cash that Gilbert laundered into the club, ALLEGEDLY.

              They were jointly indicted in a money-laundering RICO case in federal court in South Florida, Sam died before the trial began.

  5. Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Wow–$500,000! That’s a lot of bingo games!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Sister Mary Perpetua never tried any such thing, Gary, … that I know of anyway. 🙂

      • David Coxill
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Wots this about?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Sister Mary Perpetua was my first-grade teacher. Mirandaga and I have a bit of running joke about this.

          • David Coxill
            Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

            Care to give a few examples ?Are Nuns that teach as vicious as i have been lead to believe ?

            Ever seen the great late Dave Allen’s bit about his first day at a nun school! ?

            • XCellKen
              Posted December 13, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

              I attended Catholic school for seven years. The nuns helped turned me into the sick sexual freak that I am today. Does that answer your question ???

    • SeniorSkeptik
      Posted December 12, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      At least the $500K went to a good cause. It kept a few bingo staffers employed, but best of all, it didn’t go to buying Catholic books or paying for Catholic staff.

  6. Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I suppose when the gambler in Vegas they wore regular civilian clothes. What a trip.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      That’s rue number three of “Sexy Nuns in Hollywood Scripts Club” – while they’re in uniform, nobody notices. Sort of like how nobody notices the talking dog or the baby with a Kill-O-Zap gun in the “Family Guy” documentaries.
      (Watching the news in Westminster – I think it’s going to be an amusing train wreck of a week, politically. I’ll get popcorn.)

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        I initially read that as “Strip Club,” and thought, hey, there’s a scene — the two nuns go el busto in the casino so have to go over to Cheetahs downtown and give lap dances to raise a new grubstake, so they can head back to the casino and win back the school’s money.

        This thing’s got real elements, I tell ya.

  7. W.T. Effingham
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The Archdiocese discovered the messing funds during a (((routine audit))))? Considering the duration and nature of this crime, it appears these “audits” weren’t very routine after all.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      A slight case of shocking incompetence. Possibly a Doctorate in Divinity and three Hail Marys isn’t as good a basis for a career in forensic accountancy as, well, an O-level in accountancy?

    • Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      A friend of mine who was an accountant and worked on the audit team for Polly Peck (the collapse of Polly Peck was big news in the UK at the time, partly because the CEO did a runner to avoid going to prison) told me that routine audits are designed more to uncover incompetence than deliberate fraud.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if they had several routine audits and failed to notice the problem until it became too big for the nuns to cover up.

  8. GBJames
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand the “no charges” angle. Isn’t embezzling a crime against the state?

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      No, it is a crime against that organization. As for no charges, it is typical for a non-religious publicly held corporations to avoid bringing charges as well, because they don’t want the publicity. So, I don’t think this is religion getting a pass, it’s just the default reaction of large organizations.

      • GBJames
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. Somehow I didn’t imagine that a victim of a burglary had to approve prosecution for charges to be brought against a burglar.

  9. Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Well gambling is what they do every day in Vegas! They would not want to stop it!

  10. Dave Tuttle
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I wonder if they got the idea from watching Father Ted.

    • David Coxill
      Posted December 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Bishop Brennan to father Ted .
      “Now i know you could not organise a nun shoot in a nunnery” .

      I just thought a quote from Father Ted was in order .

    • Draken
      Posted December 12, 2018 at 2:06 am | Permalink

      You see, the money wasn’t embezzled. It was just resting in their account!

      • David Coxill
        Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        I bet it was well rested .

  11. Diki
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The late Mother Theresa took money from dictators and crooks. These two are small fry by comparison.

  12. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    They probably had the same accounting procedures as the Vatican Bank, one of the money laundering capitals on earth. I think Trump may already be attempting to recruit these two into high level jobs at the white house. I know he is looking for a chief of staff among others. One thing about these Catholics, good accounting procedures just seem to escape them.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I think good accounting procedures don’t just evade Catholics, it seems to me that embezzlement is frequently found among churches of all denominations, along with non-profit organizations of all types.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Yes, and the fraud and embezzlement is always available when the accounting practices are so poor. If you are allowing one person to handle the receipt of money or issue out payments without second and third signatures required, that can be a problem. If you are waiting for an audit to find the embezzlement as they did here…too bad.

  13. Mark Jones
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    That’s how Catholicism normally works isn’t it? Three Hail Marys and you’re free to start another tab of sin.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Although they’re no longer Brides of Jesus, they can live their lives without stigma, opprobrium, or any jail time.

    How’s that vow of poverty workin’ out, sisters?

    Reminds me of a story that was in the news when I was a kid. One of LBJ’s knockaround guys from Texas, a conman name o’ Billie Sol Estes, swindled a few million bucks from some nuns who belonged to the Order — I shit you not — The Little Sisters of the Poor.

  15. dquack
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    The sad part for me is the theft from the contributors.  The funny part is that it was Catholics.  

    Of course, I shouldn’t be too amused, because about 33 years ago, my wife and her dad had to both go out state of state to a place where they knew no one to wait with her Mom as she was rapidly dying of cancer (about 4 days after they found out, and when they told her Mom, she apparently was so scared she could no longer speak). The sad part is the Mormons refused to help, and the Bishop’s words (both the Elder’s quorum president and Bishop) to my wife was that it was not the Mormon church’s responsibility. The catholic church on the other hand found them a discounted place to stay because they knew no one in Billings, Montana and the Catholics fed them for free. It hit me harder now than then because back then I was deluded enough to believe that they were “speaking as men,” but I now know their is no god and everyone speaks as men in the Mormon church and speak as humans for the rest of us.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

  16. sabre422
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    After all the priests who gambled with and so mercilessly devastated the lives, minds and well being of so many children…. this latest Catholactic bit of abuse is an almost refreshing slant with nuns as the protagonists. I was looking for a “me too” connection here, but not able to pull that off.

  17. Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Restitution is justice. Retribution is aggression.
    (Unless, of course, there is free will.)

  18. rickflick
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    “The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said the church discovered that the money was missing during a routine audit”

    An audit every 10 years. Sounds right.

  19. nay
    Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Since they are “retired”, are they getting the usual retirement pay from the diocese?

  20. Posted December 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I thought one doesn’t retire from being a *nun*, but only retire from the secondary career (teacher, accountant, etc.) that many of them pick up to serve more thoroughly, etc.

  21. Lurker111
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    “Once again religion gets a pass. These nuns are admitted felons, yet no charges will be brought. Although they’re no longer Brides of Jesus, they can live their lives without stigma, opprobrium, or any jail time. And there’s no God to punish them, either.”

    Well, isn’t that a rosary scenario?

    • David Coxill
      Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Snigger ,snigger .

  22. tomh
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Looks like the gambling nuns won’t get a pass after all. From the NYT:
    2 Nuns Suspected in $500,000 Theft From Catholic School Had a Taste for Gambling, Church Says

    Church officials initially sought to address the embezzlement internally and “weren’t desirous of an investigation and weren’t desirous to press charges,” said Sgt. Ronald Harris, a spokesman for the Torrance Police Department.

    But Sergeant Harris said that changed on Dec. 6, the day after the community meeting where the $500,000 figured was cited. Church officials came to the station house and said they had decided to press charges, he said, and an investigation is now underway.

    “This is not going to be a small investigation,” he said. “Our goal is to be very thorough, but we need the cooperation of all parties.”

    Ms. Alarcon confirmed the archdiocese had changed its mind about an investigation when it began to realize the potential magnitude of the theft. But she said it was not yet clear exactly how much the nuns had taken — in part because they appeared to have created a tangled financial arrangement to cover their tracks.

    “It looks like the sisters would funnel funds back into the school to meet the needs of the school,” she said.

    Beyond that, she said, the archdiocese could not say for sure what had happened to the money. She said the church hoped the investigation into the sisters would provide “a solid idea of what they did with the funds.”

  23. Zetopan
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Gawd always needs money! Being ethereal gawd cannot actually handle the money but fortunately there are no shortage of human spokepersons for gawd that are willing to do that part.


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