There is a nice note at the bottom of this discussion of subject and verb agreementAmerican Heritage Book of English Usage. It agrees that in the choice of whether to use singular or plural verbs with compound subjects, interpretation is an issue:
Sometimes compound subjects are governed by a sense of unity and by notional agreement take a singular verb: My name and address is printed on the box. ....
Wordsmyth's explanation of why we might be inclined to see "money and jewelry" as "governed by a sense of unity" makes sense to me.
There are a lot of threads on "a lot of". Some of them discuss the issue of verbal agreement, though I am not certain that any discuss the particular issue raised here.