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Flashy ‘Bling Bishop’ Whitehead Convicted of Fraud, Extortion, Other Charges

By Liz Lykins
lamor whitehead bling bishop
Lamor Whitehead, pastor at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Brooklyn, New York, has been found guilty of fraud, extortion, and other charges. (Video screengrab)

A flashy New York pastor nicknamed “Bling Bishop” was found guilty of fraud, extortion, and other charges on Monday, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.

Lamor Whitehead, pastor at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Brooklyn, New York, was accused of stealing $90,000 from a parishioner, attempting to extort a businessman, and making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

Whitehead is known for his extravagant lifestyle, including driving a Rolls Royce, living in a mansion, and wearing Gucci suits according to the AP News. The pastor previously lived in a $1.6 million mansion in New Jersey and owned several apartment buildings in Hartford, Connecticut, the publication added.

As TRR previously reported, Whitehead made headlines in 2022 when bandits crashed his church service and stole over $1 million in jewelry from him and his wife.

Before founding Leaders of Tomorrow, Whitehead served five years in prison for identity theft and grand larceny, according to the AP News.

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A federal court convicted Whitehead of two counts of wire fraud, one count of attempted wire fraud, and one count of attempted extortion, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was also convicted of one count of making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

lamor whitehead
Lamor Whitehead (Video screengrab)

“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, tried to defraud him out of far more than that, and lied to federal agents,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in a statement. “Whitehead’s reprehensible lies and criminal conduct have caught up with him, as he now stands convicted of five federal crimes and faces time in prison.” 

An attorney for Whitehead, Dawn Florio, said his client plans to appeal the verdict, the AP News reported.

During Whitehead’s trial, she told jurors that the evidence against the pastor didn’t support the charges. “The government has not met their burden of proof,” Florio said.

Whitehead stole $90,000, used money to buy luxury goods

Whitehead’s charges stem from multiple schemes.

Prosecutors said that Whitehead defrauded one of his parishioners by convincing her to invest $90,000 of her retirement savings with him, according to the U.S. Attorney’s press release. Whitehead promised the parishioner he would use the money to help her buy a home, the U.S. Attorney said. He instead spent the money on luxury goods and personal expenses.

When the parishioner demanded that her money be returned, “he continued to lie to avoid returning the money,” the U.S. Attorney added.

rolls royce whitehead
A Rolls Royce owned by Lamor Whitehead parked outside this church in Brooklyn. (Video screengrab)

Whitehead also extorted $5,000 from a businessman and then attempted to convince the man to loan the pastor an additional $500,000 and give him a stake in certain real estate transactions. Whitehead said that in return he would give the businessman favorable actions from the Mayor of New York City. However, the pastor “knew he could not obtain the favors he promised,” the U.S. Attorney said.

Additionally, Whitehead submitted a fraudulent application for a $250,000 business loan. He doctored bank statements to inflate his financial standing, according to the U.S. Attorney.

In another instance, Whitehead lied to FBI agents and told them he only had one phone, when he actually had two that he used regularly, the U.S. Attorney reported.

Whitehead claims trial was “politically driven”

For years, Whitehead has bragged about his close relationship with New York Mayor Eric Adams, which allegedly began when Whitehead served as Brooklyn’s borough president.

Prosecutors, however, argued Whitehead exaggerated his proximity to Adams.

In an Instagram post yesterday, Whitehead claimed he was put on trial because federal agents wanted him to be an informant on Adams, but Whitehead refused to do so. Because of this, the FBI made his life a “living hell” and targeted the pastor, Whitehead said.

“This was politically driven,” Whitehead said. “I stand on my innocence. I’m innocent of all charges.”

The extravagant pastor also thanked his supporters for their prayers and added that he plans to appeal the verdict.

“God is just amazing, to continue to give me great wisdom, great joy, and in spite of it all, amen?” he said. He added, “I’m still a man of God, and I still preach the Word of God.”

Whitehead is scheduled for sentencing on July 1. He faces up to 45 years in prison.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins writes for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.

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2 Responses

  1. So the Bling Bishop is banished to the big house. Mr. Whitehead is a crass, outrageous example of using Christianity as a racket for easy money. I personally don’t believe he is Christian at all. I now expect him to play the race card in his appeal since he appears to have no shame or remorse. Other so-called pastors and evangelists are just as guilty and narcissistic; they’re simply more slick, suave and sophisticated. And thankfully Julie Roys exposes them and makes the church hold them accountable.

  2. Have to admit I got satisfaction reading two robbers got the pastor’s bling and his wife’s worth one million dollars. I’m sure it wasn’t worth that and hope the insurance doesn’t pay up. Look how far the church has fallen. He had all of this after getting out of prison. I’m sure prisoner’s are saying this is the best Grift in town. Sad people, just sad.

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