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Brooklyn's 'bling bishop' gets 9 years in prison for defrauding parishioner's mother

By Allen Cone

June 17 (UPI) -- Lamor Miller-Whitehead, known as "the bling bishop" in Brooklyn and a self-described mentee of New York Mayor Eric Adams, on Monday was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for defrauding a parishioner's mother and attempting to commit extortion.

In Manhattan, District Judge Lorna G. Schofield issued her sentence after hearing from his former parishioner, Rasheed Anderson, and Anderson's mother, Pauline.

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"I don't see any remorse for your conduct," Schofield said, describing the evidence as "frankly, overwhelming" against Miller-Whitehead, 46.

Whitehead, a pastor with the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie, also spoke to the judge, bragging that he knows state Attorney General Letitia James; Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez; his predecessor, the late Ken Thompson; New York Police Department Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey and others, none of whom were in attendance.

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In March, a jury convicted him of five counts, including wire fraud, attempted extortion, lying to the FBI, and those connected to three separate schemes that saw him steal tens of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims.

Prosecutors said he abused the trust of his loyal churchgoers in the small Brooklyn community and bragged about his ties to the mayor.

"Lamor Whitehead is a con man who stole millions of dollars in a string of financial frauds and even stole from one of his own parishioners," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. "He lied to federal agents, and again to the court at his trial. Today's sentence puts an end to Whitehead's various schemes and reflects this office's commitment to bring accountability to those who abuse their positions of trust."

He drove a Rolls Royce and records show he lived in a $1.6 million home in Paramus, N.J.

Pauline Anderson, a nurse, described how she had spent a lifetime working only to lose $90,000 from her retirement savings when she gave it to Miller-Whitehead to help her achieve her dream of buying a home in 2000. "I lost everything I had worked for," she said, adding later that the betrayal "broke my heart, my spirit and my soul."

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Her son was a volunteer at Miller-Whitehead's church and went on to work at the church.

Whitehead officiated at the younger Anderson's wedding.

He also extorted Brandon Belmonte of $5,000, prosecutors said, and tried to convince the same man to lend him $500,000 and a stake in real estate transactions in return for favorable actions from the mayor.

Belmonte wore a wire at the request of the FBI to record Whitehead's threats. Authorities said Miller-Whitehead was recorded saying that he had "the key to the city" and that he could procure favors from Adams, including getting permits to operate affordable housing or lifting stop-work orders at construction sites.

"Bishop Whitehead is in my prayers," the mayor said when asked about the sentencing.

His lawyer, Dawn Florio, argued that Miller-Whitehead probably has post-traumatic stress disorder from a robbery two years ago. He was robbed at gunpoint of more than $1 million in jewelry during his live streamed sermon from the church.

Two men pleaded guilty in that incident and are scheduled to be sentenced in August. A third man charged died in a shootout with U.S. marshals who had gone to arrest him in New Jersey in January.

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