Brooklyn ‘Bling Bishop’ Lamor Whitehead should get 12 1/2 years on fraud charges, prosecutors say

NEW YORK — “Bling Bishop” Lamor Whitehead should spend 12 1/2 years in prison for several frauds, including swindling a parishioner’s mother out of her life savings, Manhattan federal prosecutors argue.

The politically connected pastor continues to show an “utter lack of remorse” for his crimes, and has even taken to selling documents to subscribers on the Patreon site that were given to his defense under seal, prosecutors said in a Monday court filing.

Whitehead, 46, is asking for time served and supervised release, in part because of conditions at Brooklyn’s notorious Metropolitan Detention Center — but prosecutors scoffed at that request, pointing out that he’s been in the jail only for a few weeks as he awaits his sentencing next Monday.

Jurors in Manhattan Federal Court found Whitehead guilty of five counts in March, including wire fraud, attempted extortion and lying to the FBI. Prosecutors say the bishop kept on lying, both on the witness stand and after the trial, and are asking for a 151-month sentence.

“Lamor Whitehead presented himself to the world as a religious leader, a preacher of the ‘prosperity gospel’ whom God had made wealthy,” federal prosecutors wrote. “These trappings of wealth and success — which aided and were a part of the defendant’s frauds in this case — were phony. The defendant was living a lie. His extravagant lifestyle was a facade, funded by crimes for which he has now been convicted.”

Judge Lorna Schofield threw Whitehead in jail May 20, after prosecutors argued he violated the terms of his bond by disparaging victim Pauline Anderson and her son, and by hawking the prohibited court documents in an April YouTube stream.

“The jury could not get this at all. You guys could not get this at all. This is exclusive paperwork,” he said in the now-removed April 30 video, according to court documents. “And all of this paperwork, we will have it on the Patreon.”

Patreon is a site where content creators provide exclusive material to different tiers of paid subscribers.

Last week, Whitehead tried to leverage what New York federal defendants often refer to as the “MDC discount” — when a judge shaves months or years off a sentence to account for the notoriously hellish conditions at Brooklyn’s federal jail.

Prosecutors argued that he should get no leniency because his complaints about the jail are “outdated, false, unsourced or not specific to the defendant, but in any event are largely irrelevant here, as he has been detained only for a matter of weeks and will most likely be designated to a different facility after he is sentenced.”

The pastor, a self-described mentee of Mayor Adams, is known for his flashy clothing and jewelry. He’s also a convicted fraudster who started his church after his 2013 release from state prison.

His blustery personality started drawing public scrutiny in May 2022, after he became involved in the unsuccessful attempt to broker an accused subway shooter’s surrender, angering police and defense attorneys alike. In July of that year, a trio of armed robbers famously robbed him of his bling during a livestream of one of his services in Brooklyn.

The jury found him guilty of a string of loan frauds that netted him $6 million, of fleecing Anderson out of her $90,000 life savings, and of lying about his ties to Adams to extort and try to defraud Bronx body shop owner Brandon Belmonte in a real estate deal.

“Whitehead did not just steal from fellow alleged criminals; he did not just steal from faceless financial institutions; he did not just steal from trusting parishioners. He stole from all of them. He stole constantly. And he did it all by himself. Even money he brought in ‘legitimately’ was, in truth, a product of his frauds,” prosecutors wrote.

“To the extent Whitehead received public attention and had followers, it was because of his flashy, expensive, luxury lifestyle — his mansion, his Rolls-Royce, his expensive suits. All of those things, too, were funded by his crimes.”