A former Lodi firefighter is facing felony charges after allegedly embezzling $297,000 from the Lodi Professional Firefighters Union.
According to court records, Captain Oscar Picazo, who served as the union’s treasurer, has been charged with grand theft by embezzlement over $950, taking, damaging or destroying property over $200 and theft of more than $100,000.
Picazo will be arraigned next Thursday at 9:15 a.m. at the Lodi branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.
Picazo, who was nominated union treasurer in December of 2003, resigned from both the union and his position at the Lodi Fire Department in September of this year after the city launched an investigation into the matter.
The union released a statement that read: “While the media has only recently learned of the criminal charges brought against Mr. Picazo the Lodi Professional Firefighters has been coping with the damage inflicted by him for several months. The LPF was very disappointed to discover that Mr. Picazo violated the trust placed in him by the union. Although Mr. Picazo did not take any public funds, the fact that Mr. Picazo would defraud his friends and colleagues makes this situation all the more disheartening. The Lodi Professional Firefighters appreciates the thorough investigation of this matter by local law enforcement and the District Attorney’s efforts to protect the interests of the LPF and its members. Given that the LPF and its members are the victims in this matter we have no further comment until the conclusion of all legal proceedings.”