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Press Release

Local non-profit CEO charged with tax fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

CINCINNATI – The founder, owner, CEO and president of a Cincinnati nonprofit appeared in federal court this week on allegations he used thousands of dollars for personal expenses instead of paying over payroll taxes to the IRS.


Hope 4 Change, an agency that provided housing and care for adults with developmental disabilities, drug addiction problems and mental disorders, employed between 120 and 180 individuals in 2013 and 2014.


Barry Rene Isaacs, the founder, owner, CEO and president of the non-profit, allegedly caused Hope 4 Change to spend thousands of dollars for clothing, massages, beauty care, travel and personal vehicles for Isaacs and his family.


According to the indictment, Hope 4 Change withheld FICA taxes from its employees’ paychecks but did not pay over the employment taxes to the IRS for five quarters in late 2013 and 2014. 

It is also alleged Isaacs, 34, of Cincinnati, fraudulently applied for an auto loan and credit card using someone else’s social security account number.


Specifically, Isaacs is charged with five counts of willfully failing to pay over employment taxes, one count of obstructing justice, two counts of falsely representing a social security number and one count of aggravated identity theft.


After fleeing the jurisdiction, Isaacs was apprehended by the United States Marshals Service in Texas on Jan. 30, 2020. Isaacs appeared for arraignment in federal court in Cincinnati on Feb. 10. He remains in custody.


Teela Gilbert, 34, of Cincinnati, Hope 4 Change’s vice president, “student affairs” director and office manager has also been charged. Gilbert is charged with obstructing justice in connection to the investigation of the tax fraud.


David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office; and Tracey Thanos, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, announced the charges. Assistant United States Attorney Ebunoluwa A. Taiwo is representing the United States in this case.


An indictment merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.


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Updated February 12, 2020

Identity Theft