PORTLAND — A Saco man has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing nearly $72,000 from his former employer.

Joel Bailey pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud for stealing the funds from the Jordan Group between October 2008 and January 2011 while he worked for the company as a bookkeeper.

He was released on personal recognizance pending sentencing.

Prosecutors say the 33-year-old Bailey was hired in 2006 to work in Scarborough.

In 2006, Jordan Group opened a $37,000 line of credit. Authorities say Bailey admitted writing checks from that account to himself and his own company, and forging his boss’s signature.

He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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