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BY Abu Mubarik, 11:05am June 19, 2024,

‘Bling bishop’ who made headlines after $1M jewelry heist sentenced to nine years

A congregant filed a lawsuit against Bishop Lamor Whitehead alleging he stole $90,000 from her -- Photos via @iambishopwhitehead on Instagram

Lamor Whitehead, a New York pastor who earned the nickname “Bling bishop” for his flamboyant lifestyle, was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for schemes that included preying on the bank account of one of his followers, the BBC reported.

Prosecutors argued that Whitehead, 45, used his position as a religious leader to scam people to fund his lavish lifestyle. According to the BBC, he was found guilty in March of wire fraud, attempted wire fraud, attempted extortion and making false statements to federal investigators.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, described Whitehead as a “con man” and said the sentence ended his “various schemes”.

“Lamor Whitehead is a con man who stole millions of dollars in a string of financial frauds and even stole from one of his own parishioners,” USA Today quoted him as saying. “He lied to federal agents, and again to the Court at his trial. Today’s sentence puts an end to Whitehead’s various schemes and reflects this Office’s commitment to bring accountability to those who abuse their positions of trust.”

It will be recalled that in 2022, pastor Whiteland was robbed of an estimated $1 million worth of jewelry during a live-streamed sermon. In an interview with CBS News, Whitehead said he believes the armed robbers targeted him.

The unidentified men entered the church about five to ten minutes after the sermon started. Whitehead’s wife was also robbed. He was also slapped with a lawsuit from a congregant who alleged that the Bishop stole $90,000 from her.

According to the New York Post, the lawsuit against Whitehead was filed in 2021. The plaintiff, identified as 56-year-old Pauline Anderson, alleges Whitehead persuaded her to pay him $90,000 so he could use the funds to purchase and renovate a home for her. 

Anderson said the liquidated $90,000 “investment” was her life savings, adding that she paid Whitehead the money in November 2020. Anderson also alleges Whitehead reneged on a promise to pay her $100 a month since the aforementioned funds she gave him were her only source of livelihood, The City reported.

The suit also alleged that Whitehead rather used Anderson’s funds as a down payment for a $4.4 million New Jersey home he wanted to purchase. Anderson said she only got to know about that home after the pastor mistakenly sent her son an email about the property, adding that it was her son who introduced her to Whitehead.

And though Whitehead was unable to purchase the New Jersey home, he ended up buying a $4.5 million residential property in Connecticut, The City reported.

Anderson claims that Whitehead offered to help her after she was told her bad credit would prevent her from getting a mortgage. And, although she had “reservations” about paying Whitehead the money, she ended up giving Whitehead the benefit of the doubt “because he was a supposed man of the cloth and had previously helped her own son secure housing for himself,” the lawsuit states.

Whitehead, after failing to honor his promise, would later inform Anderson that he did not intend to refund the money as he was going to invest it in his company. “Ms. Anderson was instead left with nothing but a vague promise by Mr. Whitehead to pay the funds back in the future followed by an assertion that he had no further obligation to do so,” the lawsuit alleges.

Anderson said at the time that she wants the court to award her $1 million in damages for the pastor’s “morally reprehensible acts” and for “losing her entire life savings”, per the lawsuit.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 19, 2024

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