– The pastors of a Randolph-based church
who were accused of diverting congregation
donations for their own personal use, including
purchase of 78-foot schooner and a $1.6 million
property in Mendham, have agreed to reimburse
donors and immediately resign from the church’s
a fiscal monitor will take control of the
banking and financial accounts maintained
by Church Alive, Inc., which also is known
as Randolph Christian Church, Inc. The church
is a non-profit corporation located at 791
Route 10 in Randolph.
Simons and his wife, Marianne, who are pastor
and assistant pastor of the church, and Philip
DuPlessis, an assistant pastor at the church,
also are barred for 10 years from serving
on any financial board. DuPlessis’ wife,
Sharon, is an assistant pastor at the church
but she is not a respondent in this settlement.
church leaders asked for donations for the
betterment of the congregation but in reality
they misused these monies for their own personal
gain,” Attorney General Anne Milgram
said. “We remain vigilant in enforcing
the state’s charities laws and we will
continue to hold accountable those who attempt
to cheat donors.”
were told their donations would be put into
a Building Fund. Instead, the donations were
comingled with other church funds that were
solely controlled by the Simonses and DuPlessises.
In addition to the schooner and property,
they paid themselves “honorarium”
totaling $150,000 and also spent $39,395 on
“life-coaching” classes and a
“life-coaching” license for Eric
Simons. Simons operates a for-profit “life-coaching”
business. The church itself holds the license.
pastors violated the trust of donors, claiming
the donations would fund a new building. Instead,
by controlling the donated funds without any
oversight, they spent lavishly on themselves.
Donors need to be vigilant and check with
our Charities Registration Unit before giving
their hard-earned dollars to any charitable
or non-profit group,” said David
Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director.
church is required to appoint an official
board within 30 days, under terms of the Consent
Order with the state. The board is required
to review the employment status of all church
employees, including the Simonses and DuPlessises,
as well as all financial records and report
back to the Division of Consumer Affairs.
board will determine the sales prospects for
the Mendham property, which is located at
14 Kingsbrook Court. The Simonses currently
DuPlessises are required to repay the church
$125,000 and turn over title and registration
to the schooner. Eric Simons and Philip DuPlessis
each must repay $50,000, the honoraria which
were used to purchase the schooner.
Simons and Philip DuPlessis also must repay
a total of $14,495 as reimbursement for
The state will be reimbursed $60,917 for its
investigative and legal expenses.
Attorneys General Anna M. Lascurain, Chief,
Securities Fraud Prosecution Section, and
Isabella T. Stempler represented the state
in this legal proceeding. Supervising investigator
Larry Biondo led the investigative work.
online directory of charitable organizations
registered in New Jersey can be found at www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/charity/chardir.htm.
Consumers also can call the Charitable Registration
Hotline at 973-504-6215.
Religious organizations are exempt from having
to register but they must comply with the
state’s Charities and Non-Profit Corporation