BOSTON (AP) _ Gerard T. Indelicato, former state education adviser and former president of Bridgewater State College, and three other men have been indicted on federal criminal charges of defrauding the state of Massachusetts of more than $70,000, U.S. Attorney Frank McNamara said today.

A federal grand jury voted Thursday to charge Indelicato, and the charges were made public late this morning.

Indelicato, 41, of Norwood, was education adviser to Gov. Michael S. Dukakis from 1983 to 1986. Before that he was an academic dean at Worcester State College.

Last year, he was named president of Bridgewater State College but resigned last week.

Indelicato, as well as his brother, Joseph; A. Michael Freedman of South Boston; and Antonio B. Perrotta of Winchester, are accused of conspiracy, mail fraud, perjury and tax fraud.

U.S. Attorney Frank L. McNamara said Indelicato would make an initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate later today.

The indictment describes a scheme to defraud the government in which the co-conspirators diverted more than $70,000 intended for adult education to their personal benefit between 1979 and 1983.

The charges carry penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

Indelicato reportedly also is being investigated by state authorities in connection with other activities.

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 federal grand jury.

Joseph Indelicato and Freedman are charged with conspiracy and the two mail fraud counts, while Perrotta is charged with conspiracy and one count of perjury.

According to the indictment, the conspiracy began in 1979 while Indelicato was director of adult education for the Massachusetts Department of Education, helping to administer federal grants.

In 1979, Perrotta applied to the department for 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 and then subleased them to the center for $1,600 a month. They also allegedly inflated the cost of renovation work at the center.

Perrotta wrote paychecks of more than $9,000 to an individual who was not employed there and gave the money to his co-conspirators, according to the indictment.

In addition, Perrotta used the center's funds to write two checks to a group called Administrative Associates, which had a bank account in which Indelicato was a signatory, the indictment said.

The indictment also charges that Indelicato ''procurred'' someone to arrange for vandalizing the Center for Community Education in January 1983 so that its records could be stolen and destroyed.