NEW JERSEY — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today a $76,624 settlement with the National Police Relief Association and former members of its board to resolve allegations that defendants lied about raising money to help law enforcement families and instead used the money for lavish vacations and other personal expenses, along with other violations of the New Jersey Charitable Registration and Investigation Act (“CRIA”), and the Regulations Governing Charitable Fundraising.
Consistent with the agreement, $40,000 in settlement funds will be donated by the Attorney General to a law enforcement-centered charity, New Jersey State Police Survivors of the Triangle. The remaining $36,624 of the settlement amount—consisting of penalties, attorneys’ fees, and costs—is suspended.
In a complaint filed in Superior Court, Ocean County, on December 29, 2021, the Division of Consumer Affairs alleged that Defendants National Police Relief Association (“NPRA”), and three of NPRA’s executive board members, Frank John, Antoinette John, and the estate of Michael Davis (collectively “Defendants”) used charitable donations to make undisclosed salary payments to board members and pay board members’ expenses, misused or misappropriated charitable funds, misrepresented to the public the fact that most of their charitable funds went to causes unrelated to their primary charitable purpose, and failed to maintain adequate records and comply with annual charities registration requirements.
In one case, charitable donations were used to pay for a trip to Walt Disney World Resort for a board member. The parties agreed to resolve these allegations through a consent judgment approved by the Court on January 17, 2023.
“National Police Relief Association falsely claimed the bulk of its donations were going to help members of law enforcement and their families but were instead used for frivolous expenses by the people who ran the charity,” Platkin said. “With this settlement, we are making sure money is going to a charity that is actually helping the families of New Jersey’s finest.”
Survivors of the Triangle, a registered charity that provides resources to help the families of fallen law enforcement officers rebuild their lives after a tragic line of duty death, will receive $40,000 from the settlement. The charity’s main mission is to guide these families through their grief and bring their lives a semblance of normality.
Additionally, the consent judgment requires that:
- NPRA not directly or indirectly act as a charitable organization or an entity with charitable purposes;
- Defendants dissolve the charity;
- The individual Defendants not serve in any kind of leadership position of any other charitable organization;
- Defendants pay all applicable renewal fees for fiscal years ending in 2018 and 2019;
- Defendants amend income tax returns for fiscal years 2015-2019 to appropriately reflect salaries paid to board members; and
- Defendants not engage in any unfair or deceptive acts or practices while doing business in New Jersey and follow all state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.
“This charity was built on a lie,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “The defendants didn’t help wounded or fallen law enforcement officers. They helped themselves to money people donated thinking it was going to a good cause. This settlement shows that if a charity misrepresents itself in New Jersey, DCA will take action.”