Nun Loses $1 Million at Slots
It might sound like the opening for a joke but the story of the gambling nun that lost more than $1 million at slots in Atlantic City is all too real.
Sister Marie Thornton pled guily last week to embezzlement after stealing more than $1 million from the Catholic college she worked at to fuel her slots play at Atlantic City casinos.
The 65 year-old nun said her gambling addiction caused her actions, which included losing as much as $5,000 per visit to casinos with money that she stole from employer Iona College over a ten-year period.
Thornton submitted false invoices to cover the money she embezzled and also tapped into college funds to pay her credit card bills, with more than $1 million stolen in total.
Iona College quietly fired her in 2009 after discovering the theft but chose not to reveal the crime; a federal probe into the missing funds from the college's financial filings led to Thornton eventually being revealed as the gambling nun.
"Somehow the words ‘I'm sorry' fall short," she told U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood during the sentencing phase of her recent trial. “They don't convey the gut-wrenching sorrow I feel all day, every day.”
Thornton could have been sentenced for up to three years in jail but avoided any jail time at all, with her seeking treatment for her gambling addiction and the support of her order cited as reasons to not send her to jail.