A former New Bedford Police Department (NBPD) officer and NBPD Union Treasurer pleaded guilty today to stealing nearly $50,000 in union funds.
Joshua Fernandes, 41, of New Bedford, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for Feb. 16, 2022. According to the terms of the plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of 12-18 months in prison, two years of supervised release, a fine, restitution of $48,630 and forfeiture. Fernandes was charged on July 19, 2021.
Fernandes admitted to abusing his position as Union Treasurer by using nearly $50,000 in union funds to pay for personal expenses including vacations, family outings, and a monthly wireless family phone plan, among other things. Fernandes carried out his scheme by reimbursing his personal credit card accounts with union funds and by using the union’s credit cards to pay directly for non-union expenses.
The charging statute provides a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Jonathan Russo, District Director of U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris, Deputy Chief of Mendell’s Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit, is prosecuting the case.