Ex-employees charged with defrauding more than $380,000 from Utah Valley University

A husband and wife who worked at Utah Valley University for more than 15 years have been charged with taking more than $380,000 from the college through multiple alleged schemes that funneled money into their business accounts.

An audit from the university allegedly show that Jennifer and Phil Clegg, of Lindon, were using the university’s money to renovate the family movie theater they own and pay for unauthorized travel expenses, including a trip to New York with students following a conference that attendees said “was nothing more than a vacation,” according to charging documents.

Investigators began looking into Jennifer Clegg after her coworkers reported she was using her position as financial manager of the university’s Technology & Computing College, which no longer exists.The coworkers told university officials they feared she’d retaliate against them if they reported her, according to a university news release.

After investigation, the university suspected Clegg and her husband, who worked in the Student Affairs Department as an associate dean of students at the time, of financial misconduct. Jennifer Clegg was fired April 2016, and Phil Clegg resigned in May 2016, according to the news release.

Soon after Phil Clegg resigned, a special agent with the state’s Attorney General’s Office also started investigating the alleged misconduct.

Among the couple’s alleged misdeeds, investigators found evidence Phil Clegg created a bank account where he’d take money from other student organizations and clubs and transfer it into business accounts for the American Student Association of Community Colleges and the USA Foundation, which he controls. The university allegedly lost more than $34,300 this way.

Charges also allege that Jennifer Clegg snuck a pre-signed travel authorization form from a supervisor’s desk to approve her own travel to attend an American Student Association of Community Colleges conference.

Soon after Jennifer Clegg was fired in 2016, charges state, the university received an invoice from the Liaison Hotel in Washington D.C., where the American Student Association of Community Colleges holds its annual fall conference. The invoice asked for $90,729.24 to pay for hotel rooms, catering, conference room rental and equipment fees from the 2016 conference.

In a news release, the university said that “while UVU views itself as a victim here,” it has ramped up its internal controls against fraud.

“UVU is committed to its mission and core values, including upholding an environment of ethical behavior and expecting honesty, integrity, legal compliance, financial stewardship, and accountability in the performance of employees’ UVU-related responsibilities,” the statement read. “UVU expects the highest ethical behavior of its employees.”

According to a statement, university officials are not commenting further on the pending case.

Brixton Hakes, attorney for the Cleggs, declined to comment Thursday evening.