The New York City bishop who was robbed of around $1 million in jewelry during a live-streamed service in July was arrested Monday morning and is facing fraud and extortion charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Lamor Whitehead, who leads Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries church in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood, was charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of extortion and one count of making material false statements to the FBI, court documents say.
In one instance, Whitehead, 45, is accused of convincing a parishioner to invest around $90,000 of her retirement savings with him under the pretense that he’d help her buy a home. Instead, he allegedly spent the money on “thousands of dollars of luxury goods and clothing.”
He’s also accused of using threats of force to obtain $5,000 from a New York businessman, which the businessman gave to Whitehead, the court document states.
Whitehead also allegedly tried to convince the same businessman to lend him around $500,000 and give him “interest in real estate transactions” in exchange for “favorable actions by the New York City government,” which he could not obtain, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
FBI agents executing a search warrant were allegedly told by Whitehead that he only had one cellphone, when he in fact had a second one.
“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,” Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said. “His campaign of fraud and deceit stops now.”
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