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HomeNewsKevin Ward, a Hyattsville mayor who killed himself, accused of stealing from...

Kevin Ward, a Hyattsville mayor who killed himself, accused of stealing from KIPP DC


A Maryland mayor who died by suicide this yr had been accused of embezzling tens of millions of {dollars} from one of many largest constitution networks within the District, in response to a criticism filed by federal prosecutors.

Throughout his tenure as senior director of expertise for KIPP DC, Kevin Ward used $2.2 million of college funds to buy automobiles, a camper, sports activities memorabilia and property in West Virginia, prosecutors alleged in a civil forfeiture criticism filed Monday. Ward labored for the constitution community from 2017 till a minimum of July 2021, in response to court docket information, two months after he was elected mayor of Hyattsville.

The funds, accredited and organized by Ward, have been presupposed to go towards laptops, tablets and different expertise for youngsters, prosecutors say. Nonetheless, not one of the services or products for which the college system paid have been ever delivered, in response to court docket information.

Officers at KIPP DC, which enrolls about 7,000 college students throughout eight campuses within the District, mentioned they discovered irregularities with sure expertise purchases throughout a routine inside evaluation in December. Leaders suspected fraud and contacted the U.S. lawyer’s workplace for the District of Columbia, which launched an investigation, the college mentioned in an announcement.

The college system additionally performed its personal evaluation, led by outdoors counsel and a crew of forensics accountants, which discovered “this was an remoted incident performed by a single particular person who took benefit of extraordinary circumstances through the pandemic and the person’s position as head of expertise.”

Faculty leaders mentioned they’ve already recovered $1 million from its insurance coverage supplier and are “optimistic” the Justice Division’s restoration course of will return greater than $800,000 of the lacking funds.

KIPP officers mentioned they’ve taken steps to forestall future fraud by “closing any gaps in our present programs, making organizational design modifications, implementing new insurance policies and procedures inside the programs we now have, and evaluating long term systemic options.”

“We take our monetary duty critically and proceed to enhance our monetary controls and asset administration primarily based on the findings of our inside evaluation,” the college system mentioned in an announcement.

A beloved mayor’s suicide devastated his city and left an agonizing question: Why?

The criticism asserts KIPP DC paid firms Tenret Tech and Huge Methods for expertise providers and 1000’s of units — together with 1,000 Android tablets, 150 MacBook Air laptops and three,400 Acer Chromebooks — between April 3, 2020 and Oct. 27, 2021. The criticism is making an attempt to grab the property that was acquired.

Whereas the units by no means materialized, college students studying from residence have been in a position to make use of units the college system had bought from different distributors, mentioned Adam Rupe, a spokesman for KIPP DC.

Tenret Tech was a Maryland company registered in April 2020, court docket information present. The corporate’s paperwork establish Ward as its licensed particular person and resident agent, and checklist Ward’s residence handle as its personal, in response to the criticism. Prosecutors say Huge Methods is an affiliate of Tenret Tech, and ultimately presupposed to do enterprise as Tenret Tech.

Ward died by suicide on Jan. 25 on the age of 44. He was present in a public park in McLean with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities mentioned. On the time of his dying, Ward was serving as mayor of town of Hyattsville in Prince George’s County.

He had been elected to the job in 2021 after serving two phrases on the Metropolis Council.

Ward was beloved by many Hyattsville residents, who after his dying displayed purple lights and ribbons from their properties in reminiscence of their late mayor and his favourite shade.

In an announcement Tuesday, a spokesperson for town mentioned Hyattsville officers discovered of the federal civil criticism by way of information stories. The assertion assured group members that no elected officers have entry to town’s money account and that the spending of taxpayer {dollars} goes by way of a “sturdy, multi-layered approval course of.”

“We all know this can be troublesome information for members of the Hyattsville group,” the assertion mentioned. It inspired anybody struggling to succeed in out to the 988 Disaster Lifeline for assist.

Ward’s dying shocked the tightknit group, his colleagues and people closest to him, together with family and friends, who struggled to know what had gone flawed.

Those that knew him spoke of his heat, generosity, eagerness to assist others and dedication as a father and husband. Ward’s household couldn’t be reached Tuesday.

If you happen to or somebody you already know wants assist, name the Suicide & Disaster Lifeline at 988. You may also textual content a disaster counselor by messaging the Disaster Textual content Line at 741741.

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