Late Hyattsville Mayor Accused of Stealing $2.2M From KIPP DC Schools

A federal lawsuit accuses Kevin Ward of defrauding KIPP DC Public Charter Schools while he was responsible for buying computers and tablets during the pandemic. He died by suicide earlier this year

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A federal investigation found that the former mayor of Hyattsville, Maryland, stole more than $2.2 million from KIPP DC Public Charter Schools while working as technology director for the schools, NBC Washington is first to report. Kevin Ward died by suicide in January

A civil forfeiture lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday accuses Ward of defrauding the school system while he was responsible for buying computers and tablets during the pandemic. He allegedly used the funds to buy property, luxury cars and rare sports memorabilia. 

Ward died Jan. 25, 2022, after appearing to have died by suicide, according to officials in Hyattsville, the Prince George’s County community for which he was elected mayor a year earlier. He was 44.

Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture as proceeds of wire fraud and as proceeds of "theft or bribery concerning programs that receive federal funds.” Officials are working to seize:

  • Two five-acre properties in Augusta, West Virginia 
  • A 2020 Jeep Gladiator
  • A 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid
  • A 2020 Tesla Model Y
  • A 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia 
  • A 2012 Subaru Impreza 
  • A 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
  • A 1990 Jeep Wrangler
  • A 2015 Ducati Diavel motorcycle 
  • A Ford Super Duty F-450 pickup truck 
  • A 2020 Taxa Cricket camper and 
  • A collection of rare sports memorabilia that included autographs from Jerry Rice and Michael Jordan. 

Ward’s family did not immediately respond to an inquiry, and online court records did not list a lawyer.

KIPP DC said in a statement that they “identified irregularities with select technology purchases made during the rapid shift to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic” during a routine internal review in December 2021 and notified federal prosecutors. 

“This federal investigation determined that former KIPP DC senior director of technology Kevin 'Scooter' Ward was responsible for defrauding KIPP DC of $2.2 million intended for student technology devices and services,” the school system's statement said. 

According to the complaint, Ward repeatedly told KIPP DC that a Maryland tech company urgently needed to be paid so the schools could get thousands of needed tablets and laptops. The school system paid a Maryland tech company. Investigators later learned the company and a contact person who Ward listed did not exist, the complaint says.

The schools never received the products, prosecutors say.

KIPP DC has recovered $1 million via insurance so far and is seeking over $800,000 more via the Justice Department’s asset recovery process, the statement said.

“It is our responsibility to our students and our city to steward, use, and protect our public funds, granted for the education of our city’s youth. We have fully cooperated and supported the US Department of Justice investigation and their efforts to pursue resolution of the fraud perpetrated against our organization,” KIPP DC said. 

KIPP DC said its internal review found that “this was an isolated incident conducted by a single individual who took advantage of extraordinary circumstances during the pandemic and the individual’s role as head of technology.” The funds came from financial reserves and what they called a single private grant.

The school system said officials have worked to improve its policies and procedures to avoid fraud in the future.

The Hyattsville community came together Friday to pay tribute to late Mayor Kevin Ward. News4's Derrick Ward reports.

A spokeswoman for the city of Hyattsville said the city was “not implicated in any way” in the allegations against Ward. 

“City leadership would like to assure community members that there is a robust, multi-layered approval process in place for the expenditure of City funds and no elected official has access to the City’s cash account,” the statement said, in part. 

Ward was a husband and father of two who was admired for his dedication to public service, his advocacy for mental health support and his kindness. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks issued statements in January mourning his death. 

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling or texting 988, or go to for additional resources.

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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