BOSTON, DEC. 18 -- Gerard T. Indelicato, a former education adviser to Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, was charged today with running a scheme to divert federal education grants to himself and three other men.

Indelicato, who resigned Monday as president of Bridgewater State College, is the first associate of the Dukakis administration to face criminal charges. The third-term governor, campaigning in Iowa for the Democratic presidential nomination, would not comment on the U.S. indictment, citing "an ongoing state investigation."

Indelicato and the three others were accused of setting up an adult education program and then defrauding the state of more than $70,000 in federal funds from 1979 to June 1983, a period covering the administration of former governor Edward J. King and the first six months of the second Dukakis administration.

According to the indictment, the conspiracy began while Indelicato was director of adult education for the Massachusetts Department of Education, helping to administer U.S. grants, and continued as he worked on Dukakis' 1982 campaign.

Indelicato, 41, the former academic dean at Worcester State College, was Dukakis' top education adviser from 1983 to 1986. Last year, he was named president of Bridgewater State.

He is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, three counts of making false statements on federal income tax returns and one count of perjury before a U.S. grand jury. He is also the target of a state investigation that reportedly focuses on his actions as president of Bridgewater and during his tenure at Worcester.

Charged in the federal case along with Indelicato are his brother Joseph, of Milton, and A. Michael Freedman, of South Boston, who were accused of conspiracy and two mail fraud counts; and Antonio Perrotta of Winchester, accused of conspiracy and one count of lying to a federal grand jury. A U.S. magistrate set bail at $50,000 for Gerard Indelicato and $20,000 for each of the others.

The indictment said that in 1979, Perrotta sought a grant to create an adult education program called the Center for Community Education Inc. The government charges that beginning in September 1980 the defendants leased two storefronts in Boston for $400 a month, subleased them to the center for $1,600 a month and shared the difference. They also allegedly inflated the cost of renovation work.