'Bling Bishop’ Lamor Whitehead Convicted of Fraud, Attempted Extortion, and Lying To the FBI

The Brooklyn pastor was accused of swindling $90,000 from a church member’s retirement savings to fund his extravagant lifestyle.

Lamor Whitehead, a pastor from Brooklyn known as the “Bling Bishop”  was convicted of defrauding a parishioner and attempting to extort a businessman, the New York Times reports.

In Manhattan federal court on Monday (March 11), Whitehead was found guilty on five counts, including wire fraud, attempted extortion, and lying to the F.B.I. Also,  prosecutors said Whitehead, who previously served five years in prison after being convicted of identity theft, “lied and threatened to force his victims to give him money,” and misrepresented his relationship with Mayor Eric Adams.

After the verdict, Dawn Florio, one of Whitehead’s attorneys, said they would file an appeal.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Derek Wikstrom described Whitehead as a pathological liar.

“He was lying about the access, he was lying about the influence, he was lying about all of it,” Wikstrom said.

According to court records, Whitehead coerced one of his parishioners, Pauline Anderson, to invest about $90,000 of her retirement savings with him but used the funds to pay his car payments and purchase merchandise from Louis Vuitton and Foot Locker. 

During her testimony, Anderson tearfully described how Whitehead convinced her to give him $90,000 to buy her a house because of low credit.

“He was a man of God,” she said. “I believed him as the leader of his church.”

When it became clear that there would be no home to buy, she sued him for the money in 2021–Whitehead countersued.

Additionally, he allegedly attempted to strong-arm Brandon Belmonte, who ran an auto body shop in the Bronx, to give him a $500,000 loan by exaggerating his relationships with Mayor Adams, prosecutors argued.

Whitehead became known after three armed suspects were seen on surveillance video robbing him and his wife of at least $400,000 worth of jewelry in July 2022 during a Sunday service at his church Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries.

In December 2022, Whitehead was arrested on federal financial fraud charges. extortion and lying to federal authorities. Federal prosecutors claimed that  Whitehead “solicited money from victims, including a retired parishioner, through threats or false promises of enriching them, then kept the money for himself.”

Judge Lorna G. Schofield set Whitehead’s sentencing before July 1, he could possibly spend decades behind bars.

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