– Acting Attorney General Paula T. Dow
announced that the former pastor of a Newark
church was sentenced to prison today for stealing
$157,000 that he fraudulently solicited as
loans from parishioners and religious associates.
Parrott, 53, of Newark, former pastor of the
Lighthouse Temple Church, was sentenced to
three years in state prison by Superior Court
Judge Patricia Richmond LeBon in Burlington
County. Parrott pleaded guilty on Nov. 13
to second-degree misconduct by a corporate
official. The charge was contained in a June
12, 2008 state grand jury indictment.
admitted that he stole $157,580 from five
victims named in the indictment. Parrott was
ordered to pay full restitution to the victims.
Deputy Attorney General Valerie Noto prosecuted
the case for the Division of Criminal Justice
Major Crimes Bureau and represented the state
at today’s sentencing.
investigation by the Division of Criminal
Justice revealed that Parrott asked to borrow
money from the victims, claiming he would
pay the victims back quickly with large sums
of interest. Parrott falsely told one victim
he needed money to bury a family member. He
told the other victims that “the Lord”
wanted him to ask for the money to repair
his church and make a down payment on a $6
million dollar project to create an after-school
program in memory of his father. One parishioner
who had known Parrott all of her life gave
falsely claimed he was about to receive a
major grant for the memorial project and would
pay the loans back with that money, which
was supposed to come from the government or
a wealthy donor. Parrott lied about the project
and never intended to repay the money. Rather
than spending the money on the church, he
used it to pay his personal expenses.
Richard Watson, Detective Kimberly Allen,
Principal Research Analyst Rita Gillis and
Deputy Attorney General Noto conducted the
investigation for the Division of Criminal
Lighthouse Temple Church is a small parish
on Market Street in Newark that is part of
the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the
Apostolic Faith Inc., a New York-based Pentecostal
denomination with member churches located
primarily in the eastern United States.
In addition to serving as pastor, Parrott
previously served as a bishop for the national
church, leading a diocese that included churches
in Mercer, Essex and Hudson counties. He was
removed from all church posts after the alleged
thefts came to light in 2007.