The New York pastor who was both robbed of $1 million worth of jewelry during a church service and accused of stealing a parishioner's life savings earlier this year has been hit with federal charges.
According to the New York Post, Bishop Lamor Whitehead was arrested by federal agents on Monday (December 19). He faces two counts of wire fraud, one count of extortion, and one count of making material false statements to the FBI, which holds a maximum of 65 years in prison, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors say Whitehead scammed one of his congregants out of $90,000 from their retirement savings. The pastor promised to buy her a home with the funds, but instead bought luxury goods and clothing, according to a federal indictment.
Whitehead also extorted a businessman for $5,000, per the indictment. Asking the man to lend him $500,000, Whitehead, who's allegedly had ties to Mayor Eric Adams since at least 2013, promised he could “obtain favorable actions by the New York City government” in exchange for the money, the indictment states.
“His campaign of fraud and deceit stops now,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement following Monday's arrest.
Whitehead garnered national attention earlier this year after he was robbed at gunpoint of $1 million worth of jewelry during a live-streamed church service.
After the pastor was indicted, FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said: “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."