A former associate dean and a financial manager of Utah Valley University have been charged with financial misconduct, the university announced Thursday.
Phil Clegg has been charged in the 4th District Court with four counts of the second-degree felony of communications fraud and one second-degree felony of a pattern of unlawful activity.
Jennifer Clegg has been charged with two second-degree felonies of communications fraud, a second-degree felony of a pattern of unlawful activity and a third-degree felony of communications fraud.
The university received a anonymous complaint in February 2016 that Jennifer Clegg, the university’s former financial manager of the former Technology and Computing College, was misusing her position to do private business work during work hours, and that co-workers feared retaliation if they addressed the issue, according to a statement from the university.
The university conducted an investigation and found suspected financial misconduct by both Jennifer Clegg and her husband, Phil Clegg, who was the associate dean of students at the time.
Jennifer Clegg’s employment was terminated in April 2016, and Phil Clegg resigned in May 2016.
“UVU officials acted swiftly in stopping the suspected financial misconduct, ensured that procedures and practices were in place to prevent any further misconduct, and triggered a criminal investigation by promptly informing the Utah Attorney General’s Office in May 2016,” the statement reads.
UVU confirmed $384,000 in losses from the couple’s misconduct, according to the release.
“In the nearly three years since then, we have not shared any details to protect the integrity of the investigation and to comply with a court order requiring confidentiality,” the statement reads.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed criminal charges against the Cleggs on Thursday, according to the release.
The university has since strengthened its internal controls and continues to regularly conduct audits, according to the release.
The couple, who lives in Lindon, were each employed by the university for more than 15 years.
UVU discovered numerous financial inconsistencies with the American Student Association of Community Colleges, United Scholarship America and the Towne Cinemas movie theater in American Fork, which the couple owned, according to court documents.
At the time of the allegations, Phil Clegg was the executive director for the American Student Association of Community Colleges, Jennifer Clegg was the organization’s treasurer and trustee, and Phil Clegg served as the director of the USA Foundation.
The American Student Association of Community Colleges offers training and leadership conferences meant for members of community college student government associations and instructors, according to court documents. Phil Clegg was allowed to attend the conferences at UVU’s expense, and Jennifer Clegg was able to attend at her own expense.
In March 2015, Jennifer Clegg reportedly used a pre-signed travel authorization from her supervisor to approve her travel to a conference, resulting in the university paying $2,276.81 in authorized travel expenses, according to court documents.
During its investigation, UVU also found it had paid three payments totaling more than $66,000 to the Liaison Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the American Student Association of Community Colleges conferences were held. The payments were authorized by Jennifer Clegg and paid out of UVU accounts, according to the documents.
The day after Phil Clegg resigned, the university received two anonymous cashier’s checks for reimbursement of expenses from the Utah Community Credit Union, where the Cleggs have personal accounts, listed for $24,500 and $42,320.70, according to court documents.
The investigation also found that Jennifer Clegg had made purchases with UVU credit cards to a theater supply company.
“UVU could not account for any of the purchased items,” court documents read.
Phil Clegg also signed a contract between USA Today and UVU for the delivery of newspapers on campus and arranged for reimbursement payments to be made to the USA Foundation, which he operates, instead, according to court documents. The connection was discovered after Phil Clegg resigned.
In total, he received $35,910 from USA Today, according to court documents.
A side trip following a conference organized by Phil Clegg to New York City cost the university $7,629.07, according to court documents, and he charged attendees $250 for the trip, which he kept.
“According to those that attended, it was nothing more than a vacation and had nothing to do with the conference or UVU,” court documents read.
Following his resignation, the university also discovered an account run by Phil Clegg that he used to transfer funds from student organizations and clubs into his account, according to the court documents. The account was used to make payments to entities Phil Clegg controlled, and caused the university to lose about $34,000, according to court documents.
In fall 2017, the Daily Herald submitted a public records request to UVU seeking to obtain the disciplinary and investigation records of Jennifer and Phil Clegg, along with emails to and from Phil Clegg during his last days of employment. The request and a subsequent appeal to obtain the emails was denied.