Former UVU employee charged with defrauding school

Johnny Morris

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UVU has released a statement saying that the Utah Attorney General’s office has charged former employee Jennifer Clegg with defrauding the university of over $350,000 over the course of several years.

Michael Powell, a special agent with the AG’s office, filed an affidavit of probable cause against Jennifer in Utah’s Fourth District Court Feb. 28. She was a UVU employee for over 15 years and was the assistant dean for the College of Technology and Computing (T&C) and was in charge of finances and operations of T&C when she was fired in April 2016.

The affidavit contains three felony counts of communications fraud and one felony count of unlawful activity. The affidavit also accused Jennifer’s husband, Phil, of participating in the fraudulent activity.

According to prosecutors, she used her position to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses related to unauthorized travel, hotel expenses for a non-profit she worked for and costs for a theater owned by her and her husband.

The court filing says that she obtained forms her supervisor had previously signed for his own travel — which contain a line for the traveler and the supervisor on them — then signed her name on the supervisor line and drew an arrow to imply the signatures had accidentally been switched. The school then reimbursed her $2,700 in unauthorized travel expenses.

Jennifer is also accused of using school funds to pay for expenses related to a non-profit she and her husband run, the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC). According to the court documents, UVU received an invoice for over $90,000 from the Liason Hotel in Washington D.C. related to a March 2016 ASACC conference. UVU has no business relationship with the Liason Hotel.

The university discovered it had paid the hotel three separate payments totaling over $60,000 since August of 2015 during an internal audit.

Each of these transactions were approved and authorized by Jennifer and paid out of the College of Technology and Computing budget without her supervisor being aware of them.

Also listed are accusations that Clegg used UVU funds to pay for upgrades to a theatre owned by herself and her husband.

According to the court documents, UVU discovered Jennifer had used university credit cards for a number of purchases at a theater supply company.

She provided receipts for the purchases but UVU couldn’t account for any of the items. The company in question has no account with UVU but does regular business with the Cleggs, and states that in November 2015, Jennifer used two credit cards issued to her and four others issued to other UVU employees to pay a delinquent account for upgrades the company had done to Towne Cinemas, the Clegg’s theater.

Jennifer used university money to pay the company over $16,000 that was owed on her account.

According to a press release from the school, UVU has identified $384,000 in losses and the AG’s office will be seeking restitution for those funds. Phil has yet to be charged with a crime.

In response to the charges, the university said, “While UVU views itself as the victim here, the University has further shored up its internal controls, continues to conduct audits on a regular basis by internal and external auditors, follows policies and procedures to prevent financial misconduct, and continues to expect ethics and integrity in the management of financial systems.”

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This article was corrected on March 1, 2018. Jennifer Clegg’s role at UVU was misidentified as being assistant to the dean over finances and operations. Her official role was assistant to the dean of the College of Technology and Computing, and she oversaw the finances of that department.

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