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‘Bling Bishop’ American pastor sentenced to 9 years in prison

‘Bling Bishop’ American pastor sentenced to 9 years in prison

Image source, Getty Images

  • Author, Max Matza
  • Role, BBC news

A flamboyant Brooklyn preacher known as the “Bling Bishop” has been sentenced to nine years in prison for schemes that included preying on the bank account of one of his own followers.

Lamor Whitehead, a New York pastor known for his flashy lifestyle, was found guilty in March of wire fraud, attempted wire fraud, attempted extortion and making false statements to federal investigators.

Prosecutors argued that Whitehead, 45, used his position as a religious leader to extort money from people to finance his lavish lifestyle.

Whitehead made headlines in 2022 after he was robbed at gunpoint during a live-streamed sermon. The thieves made off with $1 million worth of watches, diamonds and emeralds.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, called Whitehead a “con man” and said the verdict marks the end of his “various schemes.”

Officials say Whitehead, who led the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie, New York, deceived people with false promises and stole their money to buy nice clothes and cars, among other things.

One of his victims, a member of his church, gave him $90,000 – her savings – believing the money would be used to buy her a house. It was instead spent on clothing and car payments.

He also forged documents to secure business loans and tried to extort a Bronx businessman by falsely claiming to have access to New York Mayor Eric Adams.

“Bishop Whitehead is in my prayers,” the mayor said Monday before the sentencing, according to the New York Times.

Attorneys for Whitehead said they plan to appeal his conviction.