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Ex-treasurer of police union to plead guilty to wire fraud

July 20, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — A former police sergeant and treasurer for New Bedford’s police union has agreed to plead guilty to stealing nearly $50,000 in union funding, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Joshua Fernandes, 42, of New Bedford, was charged with one count of wire fraud. A plea hearing has not been scheduled yet, according to a statement from acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell.

Fernandes is accused of using almost $50,000 in union money to pay for vacations, family outings and a cellphone plan, among other personal expenses. He used union credit cards to repay his personal credit cards and to make nonunion purchases, according to charging documents.

The charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Erin Opperman, an attorney for Fernandes, said no plea agreement has been filed with the court. She said Fernandes is expected to have his initial court appearance Aug. 3.

Fernandes was treasurer of the New Bedford Police Union for nearly a decade until he was fired in 2019.