‘Bling bishop’ who was robbed of $1m worth of jewelry in front of his congregation gets 9 years behind bars

Lamor Miller-Whitehead stole $90,000 from one of his own parishioners

Michelle Del Rey
Tuesday 18 June 2024 00:23 BST
Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead, 45, was sentenced to nine years behind bars

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A flashy Brooklyn pastor known as the ‘Bling Bishop’ has been sentenced to nine years in prison after committing financial fraud.

Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead, 45, was handed the sentence by US District Judge Lorna G Schofield after being convicted on charges of wire fraud, attempted wire fraud, attempted extortion, and making false statements to federal law enforcement agents.

Miller-Whitehead, known for wearing designer suits and driving a Rolls Royce, was convicted in March after a two-week trial.

In July 2022, the bishop’s church, Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie, made headlines when armed robbers stole $1m worth of jewelry from him and his wife during a live-streamed church service.

US Attorney Damian Williams called the religious figurehead a “con man who stole millions of dollars in a string of financial frauds and even stole from one of his own parishioners.”

Based on the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Miller-Whitehead induced one of his parishioners to invest about $90,000 of her retirement savings with him after he promised to use the funds to help her buy a home.

The man then spent the funds on luxury goods and personal expenses. When the woman asked for her money back, he made excuses and lied. The bishop then extorted a businessman for $5,000 and requested that he lend him $500,000.

Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead, 45, was sentenced to nine years behind bars
Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead, 45, was sentenced to nine years behind bars (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

In another crime, the bishop submitted a fraudulent application for a $250,000 business loan,  which included doctored bank statements that claimed he had millions in the bank and hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly revenue.

Prosecutors said he made the same moves with other financial institutions and stole millions of dollars in the process. As an investigation into the bishop’s actions occurred, FBI investigators say he lied to them as they executed a search warrant outside his New Jersey mansion.

He claimed not to own any cell phones other than the device he was carrying when police located him, even though he owned and used a second cell phone.

Miller-Whitehead was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $85,000 in restitution and forfeit $95,000.

In an emailed statement to The Independent, Dawn Florio, an attorney representing the disgraced bishop, said, “Despite this setback, we remain steadfast in our belief in Bishop Lamor Miller Whitehead’s innocence and are committed to continuing the fight.

“We will explore all available legal avenues to ensure that justice is served. Our dedication to proving Bishop Whitehead’s innocence is unwavering, and we will immediately begin the appeal process.”

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