Up to a year in jail ahead for seminary's former finance director


A San Mateo County judge is considering a sentence of up to a year in county jail for Jennifer Margret Morris, the former finance director of St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park.

Ms. Morris, 59, pleaded no contest to three counts of felony embezzlement in a June 17 court appearance before Criminal Presiding Judge Leland Davis, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said in a report. A sentencing hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 7.

As finance director at the seminary, Ms. Morris had been issued a credit card for seminary business, but was accused of using her own credit card for over $166,000 in seminary-related purchases over six years -- and reimbursing herself from seminary funds -- in order to accumulate airline miles, prosecutors said.

She was also accused of overpaying herself by at least $36,000, stealing a 1982 Mercedes Benz, and making unauthorized severance payments to her secretary Evelyn D. Vallacqua, who was accused of assisting Ms. Morris by issuing improper reimbursement checks, prosecutors said.

In May 2014, Ms. Vallacqua, 46, pleaded no contest to felony embezzlement charges.

The conditions of Ms. Morris' plea bargain include that she not be sent to state prison. The judge will likely add five years of probation to her sentence, and Ms. Morris agreed to restitution to the seminary of just under $49,600, prosecutors said.

Ms. Morris is out of custody on $20,000 bail. Her defense attorney was not available for comment.

— Dave Boyce

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Like this comment
Posted by Chance
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 18, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Such a creative finance director.

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