Former Iowa basketball player under Steve Alford accused of fabricating catering business to defraud employer


A former Hawkeye basketball player under Steve Alford faces charges that he defrauded his employer by fabricating a catering company, then charging expenses for that company to his employer’s credit card.

41-year-old Joseph Fermino of Carlyle Drive in North Liberty was booked into the Johnson County Jail just before 1:30 Wednesday morning. North Liberty Police say Fermino worked as a medical sales representative for a Louisiana company between September of 2018 and last March. During that time, Fermino charged over $10,000 to the company credit card for what he claimed were expenses for providing catering for prospective clients. The catering company was listed as “Lotus Catering”, which Fermino claimed was his wife’s part-time business.

An investigation determined that Lotus Catering did not exist, and that Fermino had just been swiping the company’s card on a square device and transferring the money into his personal account.

Fermino is charged with 1st Degree Theft, a class C felony punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison. He played basketball at the University of Iowa during the 1999-2000 season for then-coach Steve Alford in Alford’s first season.