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Former Seneca manager charged

By Staff | Mar 26, 2017

A former Seneca Foods manager has been charged with two felony counts of theft after allegedly stealing more than $35,000 in personal credit charges to company cards as well as other financial misdealings.

Chad Alexander Phillips, 44, now a resident of Elysian, was once employed at the Blue Earth-based Seneca food packaging plant. On Jan. 16, Blue Earth police met with the director of operations for Seneca Foods. The director reported Phillips had been terminated from Seneca in November of 2016 for unauthorized charges on a credit card.

Phillips had allegedly agreed to pay Seneca back, but has yet to do so. Officers learned that Seneca identified around $15,000 in personal charges Phillips made with his company credit card while employed. In meetings with management and later in a call with Blue Earth police officers, Phillips admitted to making the charges on the card.

According to police documentation, Phillips also purchased a GoPro camera, ostensibly for work use, but had taken the camera home with him. It was also learned that Phillips had taken a lawn mower, laptop, and 18-foot tandem axle trailer which was property of Seneca, as well.

While under investigation, it was learned the Seneca business had not been paid for recycling scrap since March of 2013. The director of operations learned the checks from the scrap metal yard were being written directly to Phillips. The operator of the scrap yard said Phillips directed him to write the checks to him so Phillips could use the funds to purchase tools for the Seneca plant.

Police reports indicate there are no records of Phillips purchasing tools for Seneca.

Two walk-behind snow blowers were also purchased by Seneca in February 2014. Phillips is said to have purchased one snow blower for a new employee in return for the employee relocating to Blue Earth. The other purchased snow blower was reportedly purchased for Phillips, himself.

Police reports state Seneca funds were used for the unauthorized purchases.

The Seneca employee was later contacted and willingly agreed to return the snow blower, stating he was not aware the purchase was unauthorized. Phillips also made arrangements to return the snow blower he had taken, as well as other items.

Tallying Phillips’ company credit charges, the lawn mower, trailer, snow blower, recycling funds and, according to police reports, other financial misdealings exceeds a total amount of $35,0000.

Phillips has yet to make his initial courtroom appearance in Faribault County District Court but is scheduled to do so at the beginning of April.