A New York bishop robbed while delivering a sermon at his Brooklyn church earlier this year has been arrested for fraud, extortion and lying to the FBI.
“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. His campaign of fraud and deceit stops now.” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said, according to a press release by the Justice Department.
Whitehead, also known as “the bling bishop,” convinced the parishioner to invest approximately $90,000 of her retirement savings with him, which he ended up using for luxury goods and other personal purposes instead. The bishop allegedly extorted a businessman for $5,000, then convinced the man to lend him $500,000 and told him that he would get a stake in real estate transactions, even though it was something Whitehead knew he could not obtain.
During the execution of a search warrant by the FBI, Whitehead falsely claimed that he had no cellphone other than the one he was carrying, but authorities said that the bishop had a second phone.
“As we allege today, Whitehead carried out several duplicitous schemes in order to receive funds from his victims,” FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said. “Additionally, when speaking with authorities, Whitehead consciously chose to mislead and lie to them. If you are willing to attempt to obtain funds through false promises or threats, the FBI will ensure that you are made to face the consequences for your actions in our criminal justice system.”
According to CBS News, Whitehead has been charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of extortion. Each of the three charges carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
He was also charged with one count of making materially false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Earlier this year, Whitehead was robbed at gunpoint while delivering a sermon at church. The thief stole $1 million worth of jewelry.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/FabrikaCr
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.