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Former Hope 4 Change CEO sentenced to 4 years for tax fraud

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Posted at 5:23 PM, Nov 16, 2021

CINCINNATI — Barry Rene Isaacs was sentenced to four years in prison in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on Tuesday for spending thousands of dollars on personal expenses instead of paying payroll taxes. He's also been ordered to pay $246,000 in restitution.

Isaacs, 35, of Cincinnati, was the founder and CEO of Hope 4 Change, according to a statement from the U.S. District Attorney's Office. The non-profit provided housing and care for adults with developmental disabilities, drug addiction problems and mental disorders. The company employed 120 to 180 people in 2013 and 2014.

According to court documents, Hope 4 Change withheld FICA taxes from employee paychecks but didn't pay for employment taxes with the Internal Revenue Service for five quarters in late 2013 into 2014. Isaacs fraudulently applied for an auto loan and credit card using another person's Social Security number.

Isaacs was charged in April 2019. He was apprehended in January 2020 by the U.S. Marshal Service in Texas while fleeing jurisdiction. Teela Gilbert, 35, of Cincinnati, worked for Hope 4 Change as vice president, student affairs director and office manager. She pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Isaacs pleaded guilty to willfully failing to pay employment taxes and aggravated identity theft in April.