BBC News: CALIFORNIA – She wore a habit while hiding a bad habit.

Mary Margaret Kreuper, a retired nun, admitted that she had broken her vow of poverty by stealing $835,000 (£616,000) from a California school where she worked to fund her gambling.

Kreuper, 80, will spend a year and a day in prison for wire fraud and money laundering.

“I have sinned, I have broken the law and I have no excuses,” she said at her sentencing in Los Angeles.

For over a decade, Kreuper embezzled funds from tuition and donations to the St James Catholic School where she was principal.

She then instructed other school employees to “alter and destroy financial records” to cover up her crime.

The money, which according to prosecutors could have covered school fees for over a dozen students, was spent on trips to casinos and holidays for Kreuper and her friends.

The scheme was revealed during an audit after Kreuper retired in 2018.

In announcing her sentencing, US District Court Judge Otis D Wright II said he struggled with weighing legal punishment against pleas for forgiveness from Catholic families whose children were taught at St James. He ordered Kreuper to spend 12 months and a day behind bars, and to pay back the school the $835,339 in restitution.

Kreuper told the judge she was “profoundly sorry” and would spend the rest of her life trying to follow “more closely in Christ’s footsteps”.

Her lawyers said she had been suffering from mental illness which “clouded her judgment”.

Top Feature Photo: The California nun is heading to prison after a decade of theft