Menlo Park: St. Patrick's Seminary secretary pleads no contest to felony embezzlement

A secretary accused of helping her boss embezzle money from St. Patrick's Seminary and University in Menlo Park has pleaded no contest, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Evelyn Vallacqua, 45, was accused of collecting illicit severance pay with the finance director's approval and helping issue improper reimbursement checks. As part of her plea agreement, entered into on May 14, she will be sentenced to 90 days in county jail in exchange for testifying truthfully.

Her co-defendant, Jennifer Margret Morris, 58, was serving as the seminary's finance director when charged with stealing $202,000 and a 1982 Mercedes from the institution.

St. Patrick's conducted an audit after learning that Ms. Morris allegedly charged seminary purchases to her personal credit card, reportedly to rack up airline miles, and then reimbursed herself, according to the police report.

The finance director has pleaded not guilty to four counts of felony embezzlement and one count of taking more than $65,000 worth of property while committing a felony. She is out on $200,000 bail, with a trial scheduled to start on Aug. 11.

Ms. Vallacqua's sentencing has been set for Sept. 19. She remains out of custody on $10,000 bail.


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Posted by Jeff S
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm

The article was not very clear how the embezzlement occurred. I certainly see no problem with using a personal credit card for purchases and then being reimbursed, that is if you're reimbursed dollar for dollar and no more. It seems like a small perk to be able to build up some airline miles. Any reimbursement in excess of actual expenses is wrong and should be punished.

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm

I'll second that motion, Jeff S.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Stealing the car and charging the maintenance to the church was the crime.

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