‘Bling Bishop’ Lamor Whitehead Found Guilty of Fraud and Attempted Extortion

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A Brooklyn pastor was convicted on multiple fraud charges after being accused of taking money from a parishioner’s family to fund his luxury lifestyle and trying to convince a businessman to lend him hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for currying political favor with his mentor, New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Lamor Whitehead was found guilty of two counts of wire fraud, one count of attempted wire fraud, one count of attempted extortion, and one count of making false statements, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.

Prosecutors alleged that Whitehead had taken $90,000 from the mother of one of his parishioners at his small Brooklyn church, Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries. He promised the woman that he would use the money to help buy her a home. Instead, Whitehead used the money to purchase luxury goods, prosecutors said.

Whitehead is known for his stylish wares, earning him the nickname “Bling Bishop.” In 2022, he made national headlines when he was robbed at gunpoint in the middle of a Brooklyn sermon, with the thief reportedly making off with about $1 million worth of jewelry.

Whitehead was also accused of extorting Brandon Belmonte, the operator of a Bronx auto shop, for $5,000, using “threats of force,” according to the indictment. Belmonte has claimed that Whitehead threatened to beat him up if he didn’t pay.

After the initial extortion attempt, Whitehead then tried to get Belmonte to “lend him $500,000 and give him a stake in certain real estate transactions in return for favorable actions from the Mayor of New York City,” prosecutors said. Whitehead was allegedly well aware he could not actually carry out that promise.

The flashy pastor was also found guilty of submitting a fraudulent bank loan application for $250,000, which falsely claimed that he had millions in the bank, and an income of hundreds of thousands every month.

Whitehead was also found guilty of lying to the FBI about not having a second cell phone, during a raid on his New Jersey mansion.

Whitehead now faces up to 45 years in prison, and his sentencing has been scheduled for July 1.