Brooklyn bishop who was victim of live-streamed robbery charged with fraud, extortion

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Monday, December 19, 2022
Brooklyn bishop charged with fraud, extortion
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A Brooklyn bishop whose robbery during a church service was captured on a live stream was arrested Monday for fraud, extortion, and false statements.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- A Brooklyn bishop whose robbery during a church service was captured on a live stream was arrested Monday for fraud, extortion, and false statements, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.

Federal prosecutors accuse Lamor Whitehead of defrauding one of his parishioners out of part of her retirement savings, attempting to extort and defraud a businessman, and lying to the FBI.

"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," FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said.

The filing claims Whitehead convinced a woman to invest approximately $90,000 of her retirement savings with him but he instead spent the money on himself, including purchasing luxury goods.

Prosecutors also allege that Whitehead extorted a businessman for $5,000, then attempted to convince the same businessman to lend him $500,000 and cut him in on real estate deals.

Additionally, FBI investigators say Whitehead told agents he had just one cellphone when he in fact had a second phone which he used regularly.

Whitehead faces potentially decades in prison.

His attorney, Dawn Florio, denied the charges saying, "Bishop Whitehead denies these allegations and we are going to fight them vigorously."

Back in July, Whitehead was leading a live-streamed church service at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie when three armed men stormed in.

He told investigators they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from him and his wife.

In September, two suspects in the robbery were arrested.

Prosecutors say the charges against Whitehead predate that crime.

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