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Gambling Nun Gets House Arrest for Embezzlement

By November 30, 2011

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If you embezzled $850,000 from your company and blew it all gambling, you'd go to jail. If you're a nun, you might only get house arrest. That's what happened in the case of Sister Susie, a nun at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. For ten years she'd lose several thousand dollars at Atlantic City every week -- money that belonged to Iona College, not her. Instead of jail, though, she just gets confined in a convent.

"She covered up the thousands she would lose by systematically submitting false vendor invoices for reimbursement to Iona College and submitting credit-card bills for personal expenses to be paid by Iona College," said US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Defense attorney Sanford Talkin stated her criminal behavior was a result of terrible childhood abuse. When Sister Susie was gambling . . . she was able to stop the suffering internally. Gambling gave her a feeling of freedom, a feeling it's about her for a change," Talkin told the court. "You're not dealing with somebody who is trying to buy a diamond necklace."

Now the nun is in solitary confinement in a Philadelphia convent.

"She can't even go to the store and get milk," a source told the New York Post. "My belief is she never will be." Sister Susie told the court she was dreadfully sorry.

Source: Irish Central

I don't suppose that confinement in a convent is the best way to spend your time, but I suspect that it's better than prison -- especially if you're Catholic. And what if Sister Susie decides to give up her status as a nun? Would the convent have to let her go, free and clear? Could they keep her against her will?

I think that the private prison system is already a problem, but I don't want it to expand by having the responsibility for incarcerating criminals outsourced to convents.

November 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm
(1) Alison S says:

“she was able to stop the suffering internally”

Isn’t that what her religion was supposed to do? Where was her god? Obviously missing in action – again.

November 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm
(2) Nancy says:

I will never understand how religion became the exception to all the rules. Not only are they tax exempt, but they have never had to be accountable to the law of the land……if you’re a pedophile priest, you get sent to a different parish; if you are a criminal (embezzlement) you get house arrest.

When are people going to get sick and tired of the double standard we have in this country?

November 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm
(3) ChuckA says:

what the F..k!
(ala Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”):
“She’s been a very, VERY, naughty little…
‘Bride of Christ’!”
What’s that?…
“and a daily heavy spanking is in order”?

[Sorry; I got carried away a bit! Actually; it seems you just can't make this sh*t up anymore? Totally bonkers!] ;)

December 1, 2011 at 6:16 am
(4) Grandpa_In_The_East says:


Your last statement: “I think that the private prison system is already a problem, but I don’t want it to expand by having the responsibility for incarcerating criminals outsourced to convents.”

I agree! That would be scary!

Sister Susie’s actions were non-violent and I am wondering what entity was the victim. I do not clearly fathom why the government should be protecting a religious institution from itself. Of course, I am not a attorney, but it seems to me this is a Church issue. The fact that the Church wishes to operate a college, does not alter this. I am probably wrong, I just don’t understand the legal nuances of this situation.

Curious grandpa

December 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm
(5) OZAtheist says:

This is not just an internal violation in a Catholic institution Grandpa. Stealing, (another word for embezzlement), is a criminal offense that is, or should be, dealt with by the courts of the land.

As the institution is a college government funds would have been contributed so the money being gambled away would have come from taxpayers not just the churches coffers.

December 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm
(6) Tim Lister says:

Sister Susie’s mental health is also at stake here. Obviously the church failed to help her with her psychological problems for years (big surprise) and now that they have absolute responsibility for her life I doubt she’ll ever recover. She should be held accountable under the law for the sake of justice as well as her own well-being.

December 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm
(7) Grandpa_In_The_East says:


There is nothing in the article about stealing from government funds, and the Sisters of St. Joseph refused to press charges (perhaps implying that they would absorb the loss.) This seems to indicate that even they feel it is an internal affair.

I do question the Judge’s wisdom in turning such a troubled person away from the psychiatric help she may very well need and, instead, confining her to a convent.

Could it be that the prosecuting attorney had nothing better to do with the taxpayer’s money than to prosecute (perhaps persecute) one such as Sister Susie?

Did the Judge order a psychiatric evaluation? The article doesn’t say.

There are a lot of loose ends here.


December 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm
(8) OZAtheist says:

Hi Grandpa,

Every time I have had first hand knowledge of a newsworthy event and then read about it in a newspaper I have found huge discrepancies between what I have observed and what is reported.

I do not understand the statement: “the Sisters refused to press charges”. How did the case come to the attention of the prosecution in that case? Someone must have tipped them off.

I think that the Sisters were taking more on themselves than they were entitled to also. All the families that contributed funds to this college, and the taxpayers via government funding, were the losers here – not the nuns.

December 7, 2011 at 5:00 am
(9) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

I’ve had the same experience with newsworthy events.

“In an act of kindness, her order, the Sisters of St. Joseph refused to press charges.” – Irish Central

Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Gambling-Irish-nun-blew-close-to-1-million-in-Atlantic-City-133949023.html#ixzz1fqEDVutx

I agree with you, the Church is not in the business of losing.


December 9, 2011 at 5:10 am
(10) OZAtheist says:

Hello Grandpa, I am beginning to think there are few things that we would disagree about.

I did read the article before I made my last post and I was referring to the text of the article when I commented about “the sisters refusing to press charges” not your quoting that fact.

One of the posts following the article by “BishopSean” was :

“When I read of priests and nuns getting caught up in the same compulsive and obsessive behaviours as other persons, I am saddened. In part, better systems of checks and balances within Church organizations should help diminish some such behaviours. I personally know well a lady who is married to a prominent lawyer and she compulsively gambled until they lost their expensive home. Her retired husband stayed with her and, although they now live much more simply, their marriage has deepened. We all need forgiveness and redemption and we all need to be sincerely repentant. In the Old Testament the standing of the Israelites as a nation before God was symbolized by the standing of their High Priest. If the High Priest sinned, he brought guilt on his whole nation. But if the High Priest were faultless, God would accept the nation, despite the sins of others. We now have in Jesus Christ a faithful high priest who is always pleasing to our God Father. Letís live for Jesus whose sacrifice is more powerful than all our sins.”

How are we to deal with people who can come up with this kind of crap and use a sad story like this to flood us with it. Is there a line of reasoning behind this?

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