Criminal Justice

Head of Cleveland housing nonprofit gets 1-year sentence for tax evasion

The head of a nonprofit housing advocacy organization in Cleveland has been sentenced to one year in federal prison for tax evasion.

Edward Kramer, 63, the co-founder, director and chief counsel for Housing Advocates Inc., withheld taxes from the organization’s employees, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, but failed to turn that money over to the government.

Kramer, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to 10 federal charges, also admitted not filing federal tax returns for two years and falsifying his tax returns for two other years.

In addition to serving prison time, U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi also ordered Kramer to pay more than $237,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said that Kramer spent Housing Advocates’ money on Cleveland Indians baseball tickets, wine and other personal items. They also said that Kramer had failed to file tax returns in 2009 and 2010, when he had taxable income of more than $420,000.

“Today’s sentence is a reminder that we all have an obligation to truthfully report our income and pay taxes,” said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach. “It is especially incumbent on those who work in our legal system to follow the law themselves.”

Kramer said financial problems led to his downfall.

“When the payroll taxes were due to be paid to the government, there was not the money to pay the taxes,” he said in a sentencing memorandum.

Kramer received 46 letters of support, many of which praised him for his lifetime of work as an advocate for social justice and and defender of the poor.

Kramer, a lawyer, is on inactive status with the state bar, his lawyer said.

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