Charles Ewald, a former senior transportation officer serving Montgomery County Public Schools, was sentenced Wednesday to serve five years in prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school district during his employment there, according to Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Edwald, 37, of Knoxville, Maryland, was appointed assistant director of the MCPS Department of Transportation and from around 2016-2021, he “failed to properly manage the contract for the purchases of school buses and the use of purchasing cards in his department such that [he] …was able to steal over $320,000,” the State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Ewald was placed on administrative leave in November 2021 and ultimately fired from his position in February 2022 as the result of an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General conducted in collaboration with local police.
Ewald pleaded guilty on May 18 to charges of felony theft scheme having a value of over $100,000 and misdemeanor misconduct in office.
On Wednesday, Judge Michael McAuliffe sentenced Ewald to serve 15 years in prison, suspended all but five years, followed by five years of supervised probation. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to pay $250,000 in restitution and an additional $74,000 by the end of his probationary period.
“We thank Judge McAuliffe for an appropriate and just sentence for this defendant who committed one of the worst financial crimes to ever victimize Montgomery County Public Schools. This was a breach of the community’s trust as Mr. Ewald stole a significant amount of taxpayer dollars over a period of several years,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
Former MCPS DOT director, Todd Michael Watkins, 56, of Jefferson, was also prosecuted. Watkins pleaded guilty on June 30 to a misdemeanor charge of misconduct in office and his sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11.
Ewald’s attorney, Kush Arora from the law firm of Price Benowitz, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
In an email to MoCo360, spokesperson Chris Cram wrote on behalf of MCPS: “We will not have a comment today on this matter.”