Nun Is Arrested for Allegedly Stealing $1.2-Million From Iona College
CivloThe main campus of Iona College is located in New Rochelle,
By Andrea Fuller
Sister Marie E. Thornton, a former vice president of finance for Iona
College and a nun, was arrested on Thursday on charges of embezzling
more than $1.2-million from the Roman Catholic college over the course
of 10 years.
Federal prosecutors collaborated with the Department of Education in bringing the charges, which were announced by the U.S. Attorney's
Office in Manhattan in a news release issued Thursday evening.
According to the release, Sister Thornton surrendered Thursday morning
and was presented in federal court in Manhattan. It was not
immediately known how she will plead.
According to the news release, Sister Thornton allegedly diverted
college funds for her own use by turning in false vendor invoices for
reimbursement and submitting credit-card bills for personal expenses
to the college.
Iona College, in a statement issued Thursday evening, disputed the
size of the theft, calling the $1.2-million figure "significantly
The college, located in New Rochelle, N.Y., had previously disclosed that it had fired an unidentified employee for misappropriating
approximately $80,000 a year over a decade. Another employee thought
to have been involved in covering up the fraud was also fired.
In its statement on Thursday, Iona said that it had taken immediate
action after discovering a year and a half ago that an employee had
misappropriated funds, and that it had conducted a follow-up
investigation and put preventive procedures in place. The college also
said it had recovered most of the missing money but declined to
Sister Thornton's arrest was first reported on Talk of the Sound, a
New Rochelle blog.
Sister Thornton served as Iona's vice president for finance and
administration for roughly a decade, and she previously was assistant
to the president for five years, according to the college's financial
documents. She holds a doctorate in educational administration from
Fordham University and previously spent time as a teacher, a
principal, and a deputy school superintendent.