Former Merced cop sentenced for union embezzlement scheme

A former Merced Police officer underwent sentencing on an embezzlement scheme targeting the city’s police union.

Former Merced cop Joseph Deliman pleaded no contest to one count of felony grand theft for embezzling over $40,000 from the Merced Police Officers’ Association over a three-year period. 

Deliman served on the board of the police officers’ association and used the funds for personal expenses and vacations. 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the sentencing on Tuesday. 

He was sentenced to two years of felony probation.

“We expect our public servants to uphold the highest standards of ethics,” Bonta said in a statement. 

“Today’s announcement should send a strong message: In California, we will not tolerate abuse of power. Joseph Deliman was in a trusted position to help our community, but instead used his position to enrich himself. Today, we held him accountable.” 

In addition to the two years of felony probation, Deliman will also serve 180 days on electronic monitoring and is required to pay $47,612 in restitution. 

Deliman, who is retired, was arrested in October 2018 following a year-long investigation by the California Department of Justice. 

According to the complaint filed against Deliman, the scheme ran from Jan. 1, 2014, to Sep. 30, 2017. 

The Merced Police Officers’ Association did not discover that Deliman was stealing funds until Jun 2017. 

Deliman lied to the other members of the association and told them that one of its accounts had been closed when he actually kept the account open and funded to pay charges on a credit card that only he knew about, according to the complaint. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at