Greenlee County Sheriff's Office

MORENCI — A former Freeport employee caught embezzling from a worker support fund was sentenced late last month.

Jennifer Newell was convicted of multiple charges of fraud, theft and forgery involving the Mine Soda Fund, which provides a certain amount of profit from Coke and Pepsi machines on Freeport-McMoRan property to pay for expenses arising from funerals or illnesses for mine workers. The fund also donates to charitable organizations in the community.

After several subpoenas, the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office discovered that Newell had opened bank accounts in her and her children’s names to embezzle thousands of dollars from the fund. Newell had worked in several locations at the mine as part of resource management.

Newell was ordered to pay restitution of $15,633 to the victims, will receive jail time of almost 40 days in jail to be served on consecutive weekends, and standard probation for five years under the terms of the sentence.

Newell is also prohibited from working a position where she would have access to her employer's funds.

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