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Brooklyn pastor ‘Bling Bishop’ found guilty of spending $90,000 of his parishioner’s savings on luxury goods

A flashy, jewelry-wearing Brooklyn pastor was convicted Monday in federal court of using a parishioner’s retirement savings and trying to extort a businessman while touting he had connections to the New York City mayor.

Lamor Whitehead, nicknamed the “Bling Bishop,” is a pastor at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries. He was found guilty of five counts, including wire fraud, attempted extortion and making false statements to the FBI. The convictions are from three separate schemes.

Whitehead, known for his Louis Vuitton suits and extravagant jewelry, also made headlines in 2022 after he said he and his wife were robbed of $1 million worth of jewelry at their church.

“As a unanimous jury found, Lamor Whitehead abused the trust placed in him by a parishioner, tried to obtain a fraudulent loan using fake bank records, bullied a businessman for $5,000, tried to defraud him out of far more than that, and lied to federal agents,” US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a news release.

“Whitehead’s reprehensible lies and criminal conduct have caught up with him, as he now stands convicted of five federal crimes and faces time in prison,” Williams said.

Prosecutors said that Whitehead defrauded one of his parishioners by convincing her to invest $90,000 of her retirement savings with him, according to the indictment. The document said Whitehead would help her buy a home and invest the money, but he used it on luxury goods and personal expenses instead.

Whitehead also extorted a businessman for $5,000 and then attempted to convince the man to loan him $500,000 and grant him a stake in real estate transactions in exchange for obtaining “favorable connections by the New York City government” that he knew he could not provide, according to the indictment.

Whitehead used his ties to New York City Mayor Eric Adams to try to make the deal, the US attorney’s office said in a news release.

“As the U.S. Attorney’s office said when they brought this case, the defendant ‘knew he could not obtain’ favors from city government. With this ruling, that was proven right,” Charles Kretchmer Lutvak, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office told CNN Tuesday.

Whitehead also made false statements by telling FBI agents he only had one phone, when he actually had two, according to the indictment.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, except for the false statements count, which is a maximum sentence of 5 years, according to the US attorney’s office.

Dawn Florio, one of Whitehead’s attorneys, said they plan to appeal the verdict. His sentencing is scheduled for July 1, she added.

CNN’s Eric Levenson, Christina Zdanowicz and Lindsey Knight contributed to this report.

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