Iona College as "Sister Susie" was indicted for embezzlement in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. She was charged with stealing nearly a million dollars over a decade from the private Catholic college which she served as a vice president for financial affairs.
Thornton pled not guilty to the charges. Apparently, the college found out about their CFO's sticky fingers some time ago, but declined to report the crime or press charges.
The missing funds were only recently disclosed on the college's 2008 tax forms which indicated that an unnamed employee misappropriated $80,000 each year in small amounts over a ten-year period. The tax filing stated that the monies were garnered via fraudulent checks and a college credit card.
When it discovered the shortfalls, Iona did fire Thornton (and another employee), stating only that she was on a permanent leave of absence. The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education connected the dots, arresting Thornton last Thursday.
Sister Susie left the Manhattan federal courthouse on her own recognizance. She is believed to be staying with her cloister, the Sisters of Saint Joseph, in Philadelphia, where she is known by another alias: "Sister Marie".
Sister Marie's lawyer, Sanford Talkin, was not talking about the case, or his client's whereabouts while the matter remained pending; promising only a hard-fought trial down the road.
Iona College's former basketball coach has commented publicly that Sister Susie spent most of the embezzled funds gambling in nearby Atlantic City. A good bet is that she's now heading for the confessional.
Michigan Connection: Iona College is run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland, the same denomination that founded Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, MI.