Crime

Former Merced police detective enters plea in embezzlement case

Will ex-Merced detective’s embezzlement admission affect homicide case?

Merced County attorneys comment on former Merced detective Joe Deliman openly admitted to embezzling money from the Merced Police Officers Association on the stand during a preliminary hearing of a murder case Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2018.
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Merced County attorneys comment on former Merced detective Joe Deliman openly admitted to embezzling money from the Merced Police Officers Association on the stand during a preliminary hearing of a murder case Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2018.

An ex-detective who has worked on several high profile cases in Merced has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of embezzling money from the city’s police union.

Joseph Deliman, 57, was in court for an arraignment hearing Friday morning, exactly a month after he was arrested and charged with felony grand theft for allegedly taking $82,495.94 from the Merced Police Officers Association, according to court and jail records.

Part of that amount included $3,000 in flagged donations to local political campaigns, according to reports from the Attorney General’s Office’s investigation.

But the agency’s complaint was amended Friday to exclude the $3,000 after a Sun-Star inquiry led investigators to discover the donations were, in fact, authorized by the union.

Deliman has recently admitted to embezzling money from the union while testifying in several cases where he had worked as lead detective over the years. But he was granted immunity, preventing those admissions from being used as evidence in his embezzlement case.

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Joe Deliman, 57, of Merced, was in custody in lieu of $20,000 bond at the Merced County Sheriff’s Main Jail after being booked at 2:36 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, on suspicion of felony theft of over $400, according to jail records. Courtesy Merced County Sheriff's Office

Investigation reports state Deliman allegedly used a bank account of the MPOA to fund $44,666.81 in unauthorized purchases between Jan. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2017, including everyday expenses such as fast food and groceries, plus trips to San Diego, San Francisco, Carmel, Las Vegas, Reno, Huntsville, Ala. and Niagara Falls.

He reportedly used another MPOA account to funnel $28,910 to a credit card he only knew about, and another $5,778.85 for various purchases.

A third account was used by Deliman to pay for a $140.28 bill to a Merced sushi grill, according to the reports.

Merced police officials have said Deliman’s alleged conduct, with his admissions in other court cases, have put “a black eye” on law enforcement, Merced Police Chief Chris Goodwin said.

While Goodwin said the allegations were “sad,” he didn’t believe they were a reflection of Deliman’s capability and work as a 20-year detective and officer for the Merced Police Department.

Deliman’s next court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 8.

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