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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

DiNapoli: Former Utica School District Superintendent Sentenced for Public Corruption, Must Pay Over $160K to District

April 19, 2024

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Oneida County District Attorney Todd Carville, and the New York State Police today announced that Bruce Karam, the former long-time superintendent of the Utica City School District (UCSD), was sentenced to pay the UCSD restitution of $11,549 for the resources improperly diverted, serve five years’ probation and perform 250 hours of community service. Karam was also ordered to pay UCSD $150,000 by May 17, representing a reduction in his pension earnings from the date of his crime until his termination.

“Bruce Karam shamelessly diverted funds meant to benefit students to further his personal interests," DiNapoli said. “I thank Oneida District Attorney Todd Carville and the New York State Police for their assistance in ensuring justice was served.”

District Attorney Carville said: “Today’s sentence represents accountability and just punishment for a former local leader who abused his power and the public trust. I want to thank the New York State Comptroller’s Office and the New York State Police for their assistance and tireless pursuit of justice in this matter.”

New York State Police Superintendent Steven G. James said, “Mr. Karam deliberately embezzled funds intended to enrich the education of the youth and enhance the community for his own selfishness. This sentencing should serve as a reminder that defrauding of any amount will be met with multi-agency collaborative investigations resulting in indictments and arrests. I commend the diligent work of our State Police members, along with our partners at the State Comptroller’s Office and Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, for their hard work in putting an end to this dishonest act.”

Karam had pleaded guilty to public corruption, a felony, for using public resources to support the school board election campaigns of candidates he favored and who would determine his salary as members of the board. He also used school resources to send invitations for a non-school related fundraiser for a purported charity run by former Utica mayor and school board president Louis LaPolla. Fundraiser fliers for the charity were inserted by school district employees during school hours in envelopes the school district paid for and were mailed using the district’s stamps.

Karam was the UCSD’s superintendent from 2011 until October 2022. He was terminated by the school board shortly after his arrest in November 2023.

His co-defendant, LaPolla, was sentenced to 60 days of house arrest and three years of probation earlier this month.

Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.