NEW YORK (PIX11) — A Brooklyn bishop who was once robbed mid-sermon was arrested Monday morning for allegedly defrauding a parishioner out of retirement savings, officials said.
Lamor Whitehead, 45, also allegedly tried to extort and defraud a businessman and lied to the FBI. He’s been charged with two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
“As we allege today, Lamor Whitehead abused the trust placed in him by a parishioner, bullied a businessman for $5,000, then tried to defraud him of far more than that, and lied to federal agents,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “His campaign of fraud and deceit stops now.”
Whitehead allegedly “induced” a parishioner to invest about $90,000 of her retirement savings with him, according to an indictment. He’s accused of spending that money on luxury goods and other personal purposes.
The Brooklyn bishop was also charged with extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of making material false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
“Lamor Whitehead is not guilty of these charges,” his lawyer said in a statement to PIX11 News. “He will be vigorously defending these allegations. He feels that he is being targeted and being turned into a villain from a victim.”
Whitehead pleaded not guilty and was released on the condition he pay $500,000 bond.
Whitehead made headlines back in July when police say masked robbers held a gun to his head during a live-streamed service and stole $1 million worth of jewelry. Arrests were made in the case.