Feds: Nonprofit founder bought clothes, massages with money meant to help people with disabilities

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Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 12, 2020

CINCINNATI — The CEO of a nonprofit that received over $3 million in taxpayer dollars during its brief existence spent the organization’s money on clothes, massages, beauty products and travel for himself and his family, according to new allegations from federal prosecutors.

Barry Rene Isaacs, 34, founded and ran the short-lived nonprofit Hope 4 Change, which “provided housing and care for adults with developmental disabilities, drug addiction problems and mental disorders” between 2010 and 2014.

Hope 4 Change received $3,154,304.54 from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities between January 2013 and September 2014, but the Ohio Department of Medicaid suspended its payments when allegations of fraud emerged.

The nature of the fraud was extensive, according to Isaacs’ indictment: Isaacs dodged employment taxes while using Hope 4 Change to pay for “clothing, massages, beauty care, travel and personal vehicles” and to provide interest-free “loans” to his family members.

Prosecutors said Isaacs attempted to blame another employee when confronted by the IRS in 2017. In a separate incident, he used another person’s social security number to apply for a credit card and auto loan.

Isaacs would be indicted April 10, 2019, on charges of willfully failing to pay employment taxes, obstructing justice, falsely representing a social security number and aggravated identity theft.

Instead of being arrested, he fled to Texas. United States Marshals arrested him there Jan. 30, 2020, and he was arraigned Feb. 10 in Cincinnati’s federal courthouse.