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Menlo Park Seminary Employee Takes Plea Deal in Embezzlement Case

A woman who was a secretary during the time of the alleged crimes from 2006 through 2010 was accused of issuing several improper reimbursement checks to her boss and accepting unauthorized severance payments.

Photo via Google Maps.
Photo via Google Maps.
By Bay City News Service:

One of the two women charged with embezzling funds from a Menlo Park seminary accepted a plea deal in San Mateo County Superior Court on Wednesday, prosecutors said this week.

Evelyn Vallacqua, 44, pleaded no contest to felony embezzlement for a scheme in which she and her boss, Jennifer Morris, allegedly pilfered more than $200,000 from St. Patrick's Seminary and University, a Roman Catholic post-graduate seminary in Menlo Park, according to the district attorney's office.

Vallacqua, who was Morris' secretary during the time of the alleged crimes from 2006 through 2010, was accused of issuing several improper reimbursement checks to her boss and accepting unauthorized severance payments.

Vallacqua accepted the plea as part of a deal in which she will receive a 90-day jail sentence and have to testify truthfully in the case. Morris has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a jury trial on Aug. 11.

Prosecutors said that Morris used her personal credit card to make purchases for the seminary so she could collect airline miles on her credit card.

An audit ordered by the seminary revealed that Morris also made $166,000 in unauthorized personal purchases for which she reimbursed herself from seminary funds and overpaid herself by at least $36,000.

Additionally, Morris is charged with allegedly stealing a Mercedes-Benz that had been donated to the seminary by registering the car in her name, as well as charging related fees and maintenance costs to the seminary.

Vallacqua's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19. She remains out of custody on $10,000 bail. Morris remains out of custody on $200,000 bail.


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