Gambling Nun Accused of Embezzling $850K

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By Jason Beahm on December 16, 2010 9:15 AM

Nuns are supposed to be pure and holy and stay out of trouble. By all accounts it seems like the vast majority of nuns live up to the difficult standards of the role. But, of course, there are always a few bad apples in every bunch.

Sister Marie Thornton, now known as the "gambling nun," is accused of embezzling over $850,000 from a Catholic college where she was in charge of monitoring the school's financial matters. Originally the total amount stolen was thought to be as high as $1.2 million, Reuters reports. Thornton was the vice president of finance at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. While by day she seemed like all the other nuns on campus, she had a secret: she loved making trips to Atlantic City for some action.

And the gambling nun's trips frequently included losing lots of money.

Thornton allegedly sent phony invoices to Iona College to gain access to the funds. She reportedly used the money to pay off her credit cards and other expenses over the course of ten years, until she resigned in 2009, according to the local District Attorney's office. The school originally said that Thornton left for medical reasons. Thornton has been charged with federal embezzlement and has pleaded not guilty. Thornton could face up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted, though a resolution with far less time is likely, according to her attorney, Fox News reports.

Embezzlement is the theft or larceny of assets, such as money or property, by a person placed in a position of trust, responsibility or authority over such assets. Embezzlement most typically occurs in employment and corporate settings. There are often warning signs of embezzlement that can help catch a person who embezzles before it goes too far.

So what to make of the Sister Marie Thornton embezzlement? We don't get into preaching religion here, but I'm thinking "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone," seems appropriate here.

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