Bishop Lamor Whitehead is facing charges of fraud, extortion, and making false statements. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York announced the charges on Monday (Dec. 19) along with the Whitehead’s arrest.
His charges involve a former parishioner, a businessman, and the FBI. Per the official statement, he’s accused of defrauding his congregant, attempting to defraud and extort the businessman, and then lying to the FBI during an investigation.
While the charges are new to the public, the congregant’s claims of Whitehead defrauding her are not. Pauline Anderson filed a lawsuit against the bishop in 2021, alleging he swindled her out of $90,000. The supposed plan involved Whitehead assisting the older woman with buying and renovating a home, but that didn’t happen.
Instead, Whitehead allegedly used most of Anderson’s life savings on personal expenses. Now, the D.A.’s official statement shows they agreed with Pauline’s claims–and seek to prove it in a court of law.
“As we allege today, Lamor Whitehead abused the trust placed in him by a parishioner, bullied a business for $5,000 and then tried to defraud him for more than that, and lied to federal agents. His campaign of fraud and deceit stops now,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.
The arrest statement claims Bishop Lamor spent Pauline’s investment “on luxury goods and other personal expenses.”
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What Happened Between Bishop Lamor Whitehead And His Former Parishioner?
According to The Shade Room’s July report, Anderson admitted in her lawsuit that she had “reservations” about giving the bishop her coins. But, she believed he could help her “because he was a supposed man of the cloth and previously helped her son secure housing for himself.”
She had reportedly known Whitehead since January 2020 through an introduction by her son Rasheed Anderson. By July, they were having conversations about the home-buying process.
Bishop Whitehead even connected Pauline with two alleged money lenders on the phone, who reportedly convinced her securing a loan on her own would be difficult. So the church leader offered another solution: invest the money in his company Lamor Whitehead Inc., and they’ll secure the home that way.
They also allegedly agreed he’d give Pauline a monthly stipend from the savings, given that it was her only source of income at the time. She cut a cashier’s check in November 2020 but allegedly didn’t receive her first allowance until January 2021.
Afterward, Lamor allegedly offered excuse after excuse when Pauline questioned the slow progression of securing a home. By May, she warned the preacher she’d contact the “police, the press, and [his Brooklyn borough president] campaign” if he failed to return her money by May 2021. Instead, they exchanged a series of heated messages. Lamor accused her son of being a “liar and deceiver” while claiming any money given to him with a contract “is a donation.”
Then in July 2021, he accidentally emailed Pauline’s son a copy of a purchase contract for a $4.4 million mansion in New Jersey. The purchase didn’t go through, per reports. However, Anderson believes Lamor used her $90,000 as an initial down payment.
Per the suit, she sought $1 million in damages from Lamor. He later responded to the lawsuit, saying it’s solely “because of who [he] is,” including his “celebrity status.” It’s unclear if the suit is still active.
Bishop Lamor Whitehead’s Additional Extortion And False Statements Charges Explained
And according to the arrest statement, Pauline’s case isn’t unique. Prosecutors say he extorted an unnamed businessman for five bands. Afterward, Whitehead allegedly tried to circle the block and squeeze the same man for $500,000.
The bishop also offered “a stake in certain real estate transactions in return for favorable actions from the New York City government, which he could not obtain,” per the statement.
Additionally, officials say Whitehead lied to FBI agents amid the execution of a search warrant. He “falsely claimed he had no cellphones other than the phone he was carrying” but actually “owned a second phone.” Not only that, he told on himself in a text where he described the device as his “other phone” soon after lying to the agents.
The charges include two counts of wire fraud, one count of extortion, and one count of making material false statements. If convicted on all charges and given the maximum sentences, he faces at least 65 years in prison–20 for each fraud count, 20 for extortion, and five for the false statements.
“As we allege today, Whitehead carried out several duplicitous schemes in order to receive funds from his victims. Additionally, when speaking with authorities, Whitehead consciously chose to mislead and lie to them. If you are willing to attempt to obtain funds through false promises or threats, the FBI will ensure that you are made to face the consequences for your actions in our criminal justice system,” FBI Assistant Director Michael Driscoll said.
Back in July, three armed men robbed Whitehead, his wife, and parishioners during a live-streamed sermon. By September, Whitehead went from a robbery victim to the subject of fraud and violence, including Pauline’s lawsuit and a viral video of him choking a female parishioner.
Days later, officials arrested the robbery culprits, Juwan Anderson and Say-Quan Pollack. Whitehead reacted by saying he was “extremely happy” and that his wife “was crying when she heard the news.”
No word on his public social profiles about his arrest.
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