In one case, Bishop Lamor Whitehead is accused of persuading a parishioner to invest approximately $90,000 of her retirement savings with him, which he allegedly spent on “thousands of dollars of luxury goods and clothing.” “according to court documents.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the New York City bishop who was robbed of approximately $1 million in jewellery during a live-streamed service in July was arrested Monday morning and is facing fraud and extortion charges.
According to court documents, Lamor Whitehead, pastor of Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighbourhood, was charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of extortion, and one count of making material false statements to the FBI.
In one case, Whitehead, 45, is accused of convincing a parishioner to invest around $90,000 of her retirement savings with him under the guise of helping her buy a home. Instead, he allegedly spent the money on “thousands of dollars of luxury goods and clothing.”
According to the court document, he is also accused of using threats of force to obtain $5,000 from a New York businessman, which the businessman gave to Whitehead.
Whitehead also allegedly tried to persuade the same businessman to lend him $500,000 and give him “interest in real estate transactions” in exchange for “favourable actions by the New York City government,” which he was unable to obtain, according to the US Attorney’s office.
Whitehead allegedly told FBI agents executing a search warrant that he only had one cell phone, when in fact he had two.
“As we allege today, Lamor Whitehead abused the trust placed in him by a parishioner, bullied a businessman for $5,000, then tried to defraud him of far more than that, and lied to federal agents.” “According to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. “His deception and deception campaign has come to an end.”
According to court documents, if convicted, Whitehead faces a minimum of 20 years in prison.
Dawn Florio, Whitehead’s lawyer, denied the allegations. “Bishop Lamor Whitehead is not guilty of these charges. He will vigorously defend these allegations. He believes he is being targeted and being transformed from a victim into a villain.”
Whitehead made headlines this summer when assailants stormed a live-streamed Sunday service and robbed him and his wife of $1 million in jewellery.
“When I saw them come into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody to get out, everybody just gets out,” Whitehead said in an Instagram video at the time. “I wasn’t sure if they were coming to shoot up the church or just rob it.”
In September, the bishop was removed from his church by police after a video emerged showing him grabbing and pushing a woman.
He was preaching at the Brooklyn church when someone in the audience began yelling inaudibly off-camera. He paused the service to respond.
“Do you want to come to preach?” He’s heard saying near the end of the live-streamed service. “Come on up here. “I’m going to make you famous.”
As a woman approaches him, the video appears to show the bishop grabbing her hair by the back of her neck and pushing her off-camera.
Tarsha Howard was charged with trespassing and disrupting a religious service. Police claim Whitehead was not arrested, but the bishop claims he was placed in a holding cell.
“You put me in prison and then let me out and say, ‘Oops, you made a mistake,'” he said in a video at the time. “But you don’t get to arrest me for no reason. “I’m going to protect my family.”