Pulpit to prison! ‘Bling Blishop’ Lamor Whitehead sentenced to nine years in prison for fraud, extortion and false statements

“Bling Bishop” Lamor Whitehead was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday, June 17 for schemes of wire fraud, attempted wire fraud, attempted extortion and more.
File photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Lamor Whitehead, the Canarsie bishop known for his love of bling and holy deceit, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday, June 17 for schemes of wire fraud, attempted wire fraud, attempted extortion and making false statements to federal law agents.

Whitehead was handed the punishment after being convicted on all charges in a two-week trial which presented evidence of his schemes of stealing from his own parishioners, defrauding and extorting a businessman and committing loan fraud. 

Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, made the announcement, reducing Whitehead to nothing more than a swindler. 

“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,” Williams said in a statement. “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.”

The “Bling Bishop” is headed behind bars for convincing one of his parishioners to invest $90,000 of her retirement savings with him in exchange for his help finding her a home. Instead of using the funds as promised, Whitehead used the dough to purchase luxury goods and other personal expenses, according to trial testimony.

When the woman reportedly identified as Pauline Anderson asked for the money back, he lied to avoid returning it.

Bishop Whitehead wore a muted suit at a 2022 press conference related to his charges, but did not skimp on the bling he’s famous for.File photo by Dean Moses

But that’s not where the bull ends.

Whitehead also swindled $5,000 from a businessman. He then tried to get another $500,000 and a stake in a real estate transaction from the same businessman by promising favors from Mayor Eric Adams. The court found that Whitehead knew he couldn’t deliver on these promises. 

His fraudulent activities were further exposed when he submitted a false application for a $250,000 business loan. The application included fabricated bank statements that misrepresented his financial situation, claiming he had millions of dollars in his bank account and significant monthly revenue. This was not an isolated incident, as Whitehead submitted similar fraudulent applications to multiple financial institutions, ultimately embezzling millions of dollars.

When FBI agents executed a search warrant at his New Jersey mansion, Whitehead denied having any cellphones other than the one he was carrying however, a second cellphone was found inside his house.

Despite the conviction and sentencing, the bishop’s lawyer maintains his innocence and is looking to appeal the decision.

“As today’s sentencing was not what we had hoped for, we are deeply saddened by the outcome,” Dawn Florio, Whitehead’s lawyer said in a statement. “We will explore all available legal avenues to ensure that justice is served. Our dedication to proving Bishop Whitehead’s innocence is unwavering, and we will immediately begin the appeal process.”

Mayor Eric Adams, Whiteheads’ self-professed mentor, briefly spoke on the bishop’s sentencing during his off-topic press briefing on Monday. “Bishop Whitehead is in my prayers and I wish the best for him,” he said,

The ex-con-turned-pastor-turned-soon-to-be prisoner was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, ordered to pay $85,000 in restitution and has to give up $95,000.

Additional reporting by Ben Brachfeld