Former New Bedford police officer and former police union treasurer Joshua Fernandes was sentenced to prison today for stealing nearly $50,000 in union funds.

Fernandes, 41, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf to three months in prison and two years of supervised release. He will have to serve the first six months of that supervised release in home confinement, with the first three months of that including location monitoring.

He must also pay restitution in the amount of $47,851.

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Fernandes had previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud back in October, admitting to using $48,630 in union funds to pay for personal expenses including vacations, family outings and his family’s monthly wireless phone plan in a scheme in which he would both reimburse his personal credit cards with union funds and also use union credit cards directly.

“Mr. Fernandes took an oath to protect and serve the people of New Bedford. Instead, he violated the trust bestowed upon him by both the New Bedford community and his fellow officers,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “For several years, Mr. Fernandes stole tens of thousands of dollars in union funds and recklessly spent it on a range of personal expenses including beach vacations, phone bills and online dating. Adding insult to injury, he tried to cover up his theft by backfilling the depleted accounts with more stolen funds from the Union’s retirement investment account. Public officials who misuse their positions of trust for their own personal enrichment will be prosecuted. No one is above the law.”

“As a police officer, and union treasurer, Joshua Fernandes took an oath to uphold the law, but today he was sent to prison for breaking it. Fernandes stole tens of thousands of dollars in union funds—the hard-earned money of his fellow officers—and instead spent it on himself to settle more than four hundred personal charges, such as beach vacations, event tickets, children’s toys, and online dating,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “What he did is abhorrent, and today’s sentencing should be a warning to others that the FBI is committed to rooting out public corruption and preserving trust in law enforcement.”

Fernandes was fired by the New Bedford Police Department in 2019 after being charged with stalking and harassing his then-estranged wife. Nine of the 12 charges against him were dismissed in August 2021. Fernandes did not plead guilty to the remaining charges but did agree to one year of probation on the condition he continue with counseling and abide by a restraining order taken out by his ex-wife.

Fernandes was hailed as a hero in 2007, awarded for bravery along with two fellow officers for their response to the 2006 Foxy Lady strip club shooting, in which Fernandes was shot in the face. The gunman killed two people before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.

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