Former Utica Mayor Federally Charged with Six Counts of Mail Fraud
A former Mayor of Utica and the former President of the Utica City School Board faces six federal charges of mail fraud. Louis LaPolla, 78, faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison as well as a fine up to $1.5 million.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Alfred A. Watson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Authorities allege LaPolla set up a scholarship fund in honor of his late wife, Andrea LaPolla, after her passing in 2018. The former mayor claimed the funds would benefit students of the Utica City School District.
Although LaPolla's scholarship received "tens of thousands of dollars," authorities claim he "spent nearly all of the donated money on himself rather than depositing it into the scholarship fund."
Earlier, Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol confirmed LaPolla was being held in the Oneida County Jail awaiting arraignment that afternoon on a federal charge.
LaPolla has since been released on conditions pending his trial.
LaPolla was the longest serving mayor in Utica history, serving from 1984 until 1995. He then went on to serve for the Utica School Board of Education, where he eventually served as President until his retirement. LaPolla was a former teacher at the Utica School District.
During a 2022 school board election, LaPolla was accused by a board candidate, Howard Potter, of using district funds and staff to support a fund raiser retirement party that would benefit a charity in his late wife's name. An investigation into the charity by WIBX was unable to find a registered non-profit, to support the fund raiser.
Potter also made additional charges that LaPolla and the Superintendent of Schools Bruce Karam, also used district funds and staffing support candidates for the board of education who were aligned with the Superintendent.
Since then, upon an investigation into separate accusations, Karam has been placed on paid leave. LaPolla retired from the board in 2022.
It's unknown if these accusations from 2022 have anything to do with today's arrest and the impending federal charges.
This is a breaking story. Check back for additional details.
61 Amazing Snapshots of Utica's Most Unique Boilermaker Ever
9 New Favorites from the New Menu at Utica's 72 Tavern and Grill