HomeNewsNew York 'bling bishop' charged with defrauding parishioner

New York ‘bling bishop’ charged with defrauding parishioner

The head of the self-founded Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches was also slapped with counts of extortion and of lying to the FBI

A New York pastor who made headlines this year when he was robbed of US$1 million worth of jewelry during a live-streamed church service was charged Monday with defrauding a parishioner.

Lamor Whitehead, the 44-year-old head of the self-founded Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches, was also slapped with counts of extortion and of lying to the FBI.

Manhattan prosecutors allege that Whitehead, called the “bling bishop” by local media and known for his designer suits, swindled a woman out of US$90,000 of her retirement savings.

He told the woman he would use the money to help her obtain a home but instead spent it on luxury goods and clothing for himself, according to the federal indictment.

Whitehead also “used threats of force” to extort a businessman of US$5,000, prosecutors allege.

He told agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he had no cellphones other than the one he was carrying when in fact he owned another phone, the indictment further alleges.

“His campaign of fraud and deceit stops now,” Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

- Newsletter -

Whitehead’s lawyer, Dawn Florio, told The New York Times that Whitehead “denies these allegations, and we are going to fight them vigorously.”

The fraud and extortion charges each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Whitehead was in the news in July when armed robbers burst into his small church in Brooklyn and stole jewelry from him and his wife as his sermon was being streamed online.

Two men were later charged in connection with the robbery.

The story also brought attention to Whitehead’s lavish lifestyle, scrutiny that he claimed was based, in part, on racism.

Whitehead has claimed to be close to New York City Mayor Eric Adams and a recent report by New York Magazine said hip-hop star 50 Cent once spoke at a church event he had organized.

Whitehead in 2008 was convicted of several charges, including identity theft, and served five years in prison before founding his church on his release, according to media reports.

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Support LiCAS.news

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.