Nun accused of embezzling US$850 000
NEW ROCHELLE, New York – A Catholic nun who ran a suburban New York City college’s finances has been accused of embezzling more than $850 000 and spending it on herself, federal prosecutors said yesterday.
The United States attorney in Manhattan alleged Sister Marie Thornton used Iona College funds for her personal expenses from 1999 to 2009. As vice-president of finance, she submitted false invoices and had Iona pay her credit card bills, the complaint said. It did not detail her expenses.
Thornton, 62, was arrested on Thursday and pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan. She was allowed to remain free.
Her attorney Sanford Talkin said yesterday: “I expect us to reach a resolution that all sides will think is fair.”
Thornton’s religious order, the Sisters of St Joseph, said Thornton had been recalled and her activities had been restricted.
It said she had been ordered to cooperate with investigators and was being given “emotional and spiritual support”.
Iona reported a theft last year but did not publicly identify a suspect.
In a statement yesterday, still not naming Thornton, the college said: “When it was discovered that the funds had been misappropriated, we took immediate action to terminate the employee.”
It said the theft had been investigated and new procedures implemented. The college also has a new chief financial officer. (AP)