Lamor Whitehead, the New York City bishop who was robbed while preaching on a livestream, has been arrested on charges of defrauding a member of his church.

He was taken into custody Monday after a months-long investigation that found he had solicited money from several victims and falsely promised that they would be good investments. He allegedly used over $90,000 from a parishioner’s retirement savings to buy luxury goods and personal items. Prosecutors said he also attempted to extort money from one man by claiming he could leverage his political connections to make “millions.”


Whitehead, who preaches at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries, is being charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of extortion and one count of lying to authorities.

The Brooklyn pastor gained notoriety earlier this year when masked gunmen robbed him and his wife of their jewelry in the middle of a sermon that was being livestreamed. The video went viral and the men were arrested. The FBI was already investigating him for his financial dealings prior to the robbery.

He pled not guilty in a federal court in Manhattan on Monday and was released on a $500,000 bond.

This is not his first run-in with the law. In 2008, Whitehead served five years in prison for identity theft and other charges. He was also sued the same year by a client from his former position as a mortgage broker. He founded his church shortly after being released from prison and has built a persona of appearing luxurious and displaying his expensive taste.

The 45-year-old took to Instagram Live to address the recent charges against him. He insisted that he is “innocent until proven guilty.”

“Don’t make the same mistake that you guys made when my church was robbed,” he said. “The world went against me, you guys, the media, social media, you guys turned me from a victim to a villain.”

He continued, “You can ridicule me, you can call me all types of names and you can say what you want about me, but you’re going to remember this bishop. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Y’all drunk it already. Don’t drink it again.”

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