Louis LaPolla, a 78-year-old resident of Utica, New York, has been indicted on six charges of mail fraud. Carla B. Freedman, the United States Attorney, and Alfred A. Watson, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have jointly announced this development.
According to the indictment, LaPolla established a scholarship fund in memory of his late wife, Andrea LaPolla, after her passing in 2018. The purpose of the fund was stated as supporting Utica City School District students who planned to pursue higher education in health-related fields. The indictment also claims that LaPolla received substantial donations from individuals and businesses with the intention of contributing to the scholarship fund. However, instead of depositing these funds into the designated account, he allegedly used almost all of it for personal expenses.
LaPolla held various positions within Utica's community throughout his career. He served as mayor from 1984 to 1995 and then became President of the Utica City School Board in 2018 until 2022. Prior to that role, he spent over two decades as a board member.
The accusations brought against LaPolla could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years, a fine that may reach $1.5 million, and a period of supervised release lasting up to 3 years. The specific law that the defendant is accused of breaking, as well as the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other elements, will determine the final decision made by the judge regarding his punishment.
After being apprehended for these charges and making an initial appearance in federal court today, LaPolla was granted release with certain conditions until his trial takes place.