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Press Release

Local non-profit CEO sentenced to 4 years in prison for 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 was sentenced today in federal court to 48 months in prison for using thousands of dollars for personal expenses instead of paying over payroll taxes to the IRS.


Hope 4 Change, a non-profit organization 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 court documents, 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.  Isaacs, 35, of Cincinnati, also fraudulently applied for an auto loan and credit card using someone else’s social security account number.


Isaacs was charged in April 2019. After fleeing the jurisdiction, Isaacs was apprehended by the United States Marshals Service in Texas in January 2020. He appeared for arraignment in federal court in Cincinnati in February 2020. On April 21, 2021, Isaacs pleaded guilty to willfully failing to pay over employment taxes and aggravated identity theft. 


Teela Gilbert, 35, of Cincinnati, Hope 4 Change’s vice president, “student affairs” director and office manager has also been charged and has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.


As part of his sentence, Isaacs was also ordered to pay approximately $246,000 in restitution to a company from which the co-defendants induced payments for false invoices.


Vipal J. Patel, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office; and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General announced the sentence imposed today by U.S District Judge Matthew W. McFarland. Assistant United States Attorney Ebunoluwa A. Taiwo is representing the United States in this case.

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Updated November 16, 2021

Identity Theft