Menlo Park Seminary employee takes plea deal in embezzlement case 

One of 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.

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 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 allegedly made $166,000 in unauthorized personal purchases for which she reimbursed herself from seminary funds and overpaid herself by at least $36,000.

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

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