Lamor Whitehead: Popular ‘Blings-wearing’ New York Pastor Found Guilty Of Extortion And Fraud

BY Dora Dzaka March 13, 2024 1:46 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @Lamor Whitehead

Lamor Whitehead, a colorful, jewelry-wearing New York Pastor was on Monday found guilty by a federal court for embezzling a parishioner’s retirement funds and trying to blackmail a businessman by claiming to have connections to the mayor of New York City.

Whitehead, also known as the “Bling Bishop,” is a pastor with Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries. He was found guilty on five counts, including wire fraud, trying to extort, and giving the FBI false information. The convictions stem from three distinct schemes. 

Distinguished by his flashy jewelry and Louis Vuitton suits, Whitehead rose to fame in 2022 after he announced that he and his spouse had been the victims of a $1 million jewelry theft at their church.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams released a press release saying, “As a unanimous jury found, Lamor Whitehead abused the trust placed in him by a parishioner, tried to obtain a fraudulent loan using fake bank records, bullied a businessman for $5,000, attempted to defraud him out of far more than that, and lied to federal agents.” 

“Whitehead now stands convicted of five federal crimes and faces time in prison, as his reprehensible lies and criminal conduct have caught up with him,” said Williams.

Bishop Lamor Whitehead attended the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards, which took place at Brooklyn’s Cobb Theater.

Prosecutors stated in the indictment that Whitehead deceived a parishioner into giving him $90,000 of her retirement savings. It was agreed that Whitehead would invest the money and help her buy a house, but he instead used it for frivolous expenses and his own needs.  

According to the indictment, Whitehead also tried to extort a businessman by persuading him to give him a $500,000 loan and a share in real estate deals in exchange for “favorable connections by the New York City government,” which he knew he could not provide.

The district attorney’s office stated in a news release that Whitehead attempted to close the deal by using his connections to New York City Mayor, Eric Adams.

When the case was brought, the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that the defendant “knew he could not obtain” favors from the city government. A representative for the mayor’s office, Charles Kretchmer Lutvak, told news outlets on Tuesday that “that was proven right with this ruling.”

According to the indictment, Whitehead also made false claims by pretending to have only one phone when in fact he had two, which he told FBI agents.

The district attorney’s office states that the maximum sentence for each count is 20 years, with the exception of the false statements count, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years.

One of Whitehead’s attorneys, Dawn Florio, stated that they intend to appeal the decision. She also mentioned that his sentencing is set for July 1.