BOSTON — A former New Bedford police officer and police union treasurer pleaded guilty in federal court today to stealing nearly $50,000 in union funds.

Joshua Fernandes, 41, of New Bedford is a decorated former officer who was fired by the department in 2019 due to separate charges involving his ex-wife.

majority of those charges have now been dropped.

Fernandes pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on Wednesday, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

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He admitted to using $48,630 in union funds to pay for personal expenses including vacations, family outings, and a monthly wireless family phone plan.

Fernandes stole the money by reimbursing his personal credit cards with union funds and using the union’s credit cards directly.

He will likely spend 12-18 months in prison with two years of supervised release, and pay a fine along with full restitution and forfeiture, according to the terms of the plea agreement.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 16, 2022.

In 2007 Fernandes was awarded for bravery along with two fellow New Bedford police officers for their response to a shooting at the Foxy Lady strip club on Popes Island in which he was shot in the face.

Three were killed in the shooting, including the gunman, who took his own life.

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