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.
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.
“The Sisters have confirmed the misappropriation of funds and have co-operated in the investigation,” the sisters’ order, the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet, said in a statement on its website.
“Our community is concerned and saddened by this situation and regret any injury to our long relationship with the families of the school,” it added.
The monsignor of the church, Michael Meyers, wrote in a letter to parishioners: “Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana have expressed to me and asked that I convey to you, the deep remorse they each feel for their actions and ask for your forgiveness and prayers.”
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.
Parents were reportedly informed about the findings earlier this month.