Pastor Known As ‘Bling Bishop’ Jailed for Nine Years For Fraud

A Brooklyn pastor was sentenced in federal court on June 17 after being convicted earlier this year of multiple charges including wire fraud, attempted extortion, and making false statements to the FBI.

According to a June 17 press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, 45-year-old Lamore Whitehead was sentenced to nine years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

US District Judge Lorna Schofield also ordered Whitehead to pay restitution of $85,000 and forfeit another $95,000.

US Attorney Damian Williams described the pastor as a “con man” who through a “string of financial frauds” stole millions of dollars, including the retirement savings of one of his parishioners.

According to prosecutors, Whitehead convinced the parishioner to let him invest $90,000 from her retirement so he could help her raise money to purchase a home. Instead, Whitehead used the cash to buy luxury items and pay personal expenses.

The pastor also extorted $5,000 from a businessman and later attempted to convince the same businessman to loan him half a million dollars and a stake in certain real estate deals in exchange for favorable actions from the City of New York, despite knowing he could not arrange such a deal.

Whitehead also submitted a fraudulent business loan application for $250,000 that included fake bank statements falsely claiming that Whitehead had millions in the bank and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.

During a search of Whitehead’s New Jersey mansion, the pastor lied to FBI agents, falsely claiming that the only cellphone he owned was the one he was carrying. Agents found Whitehead’s second cellphone, which he used regularly, inside the house during the search. 

Whitehead, once the pastor of the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries, was known as the “Bling Bishop” because of his expensive suits and flashy jewelry. He gained national attention in 2022 after he claimed that he and his wife were robbed of jewelry worth a million dollars.