Ray Wood pleaded no contest to grand theft.
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Ray Wood, the retired Hollister police sergeant accused of embezzling from the city officers’ union, on Thursday had a preliminary hearing scheduled for late February.

Wood, who has pleaded not guilty, had the preliminary setting Thursday where Judge Steven Sanders scheduled a preliminary examination, where a judge can decide if there is enough evidence for a trial.

Sanders on Thursday scheduled Wood’s next appearance, a preliminary confirmation for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 17, followed by the preliminary examination at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 27. The preliminary examination is expected to last the entire day, according to court records.

Wood is out on bail and was not present in court Thursday, but was ordered to appear for his next hearing Feb. 17.

Wood, 53, is the retired Hollister police sergeant and 2010 candidate for sheriff charged with a felony on suspicion of embezzling about $102,000 – during a period of more than six years starting in March 2004 – from the department’s union of which he was president during that time.

He retired from the Hollister Police Department at the end of 2010 after more than 25 years there.

In August, Wood was charged, booked into the county jail and released on $60,000 bail.

The state attorney general’s office filed the grand theft charge to coincide with an arrest warrant. It followed a five-month probe conducted by an appointed investigator from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Outside investigator Terrence Simpson reported the suspected embezzlement occurred between the start of March 2004 and the end of December 2010, when Wood retired and handed over union duties he had held the prior 14 years.

The criminal complaint alleged that Wood withdrew portions of deposits in cash and used the police union checking account to fund activities unrelated to the organization.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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