NEW BEDFORD — A former New Bedford Police officer and Union Treasurer with a checkered past has agreed to plead guilty to stealing nearly $50,000 in union funds.

Joshua Fernandes, 42, of New Bedford — a decorated police officer who was fired by the department in 2019 — will admit to one count of wire fraud.

That's according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which announced Tuesday that an agreement had been reached although a plea hearing has yet to be scheduled.

According to the charges, Fernandes used 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.

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He reimbursed his personal credit card accounts with union funds and used the union’s credit cards to pay directly for non-union expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Fernandes was terminated from the New Bedford Police Department in 2019 after he was charged with GPS tracking his ex-wife's minivan, then stealing it and smashing the windows.

He had previously been awarded for bravery in 2007 as one of three city officers lauded for their response to a shooting at the Foxy Lady strip club on Popes Island.

As he arrived on the scene, Fernandes was hit in the face with a bullet. Three people were killed in the shooting, including the gunman, who took his own life.


Fernandes faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, with three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

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