Two Catholic nuns have admitted embezzling around $500,000 from a school in California.
Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang, said to be best friends, had been accused of having taken the money from tuition fees and donations and using it for travel and gambling in Las Vegas.
Details of the embezzlement - which allegedly took place over at least a decade - were revealed following an audit of the finances of St James School in Torrance, California.
Kreuper was principal of the school for 29 years, and both she and Chang - a teacher - retired earlier this year.
The nuns' order - the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet - has confirmed two sisters had admitted to 'misappropriation of funds'.
In a statement, the order said: "Our community is concerned and saddened by this situation and regret any injury to our long relationship with the families of the school.
"The Sisters of St Joseph both desire and intend to make complete restitution to St James School."
In a letter to parents quoted by AFP, school officials indicated they do not want to pursue criminal proceedings against the two nuns.
The school's pastor, Monsignor Michael Meyers, told parents: "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."