Former Utica Mayor and School Board President Indicted for Mail Fraud Scheme
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Louis LaPolla, age 78, of Utica, New York, has been charged by indictment with six counts of mail fraud. 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 (FBI), made the announcement.
The indictment alleges that LaPolla set up a scholarship fund in honor of his late wife, Andrea LaPolla, after she passed away in 2018, with the stated intention of benefitting Utica City School District students who planned to pursue post-secondary education in health-related fields. The indictment further alleges that LaPolla received tens of thousands of dollars in donations intended for the scholarship fund from individuals and businesses and that he spent nearly all of the donated money on himself rather than depositing it into the scholarship fund. LaPolla served as the mayor of Utica from 1984 to 1995, and he served as President of the Utica City School Board from 2018 to 2022, following 21 years of service as a member of the board. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The charges filed against LaPolla carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $1.5 million, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
Following his arrest on these charges and initial appearance in federal court today, LaPolla was ordered released on conditions pending his trial.
FBI is investigating the case with assistance from the New York State Police and the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Perry is prosecuting the case.