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Popular 'Bling Bishop' sentenced to 9 years over church fraud, extortion

by Lydia Davies

In a recent court ruling, Brooklyn Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead, famously known as the 'Bling Bishop' for his extravagant lifestyle, has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

US District Judge Lorna G Schofield delivered the sentencing following Miller-Whitehead's conviction on charges including wire fraud, attempted wire fraud, attempted extortion, and making false statements to federal officers.

The 45-year-old pastor, renowned for his designer attire and luxury vehicles such as his Rolls Royce, was convicted in March 2024 after a two-week trial.

The incident that brought Miller-Whitehead's church, Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie, into the spotlight occurred in July 2022. During a live-streamed service, armed robbers stole jewellery worth $1m (£788,900) from him and his wife.

According to The Independent, US Attorney Damian Williams described Miller-Whitehead's actions in court as those of a “con man who stole millions of dollars in a string of financial frauds and even stole from one of his own parishioners".

It emerged at the trial that Miller-Whitehead persuaded a parishioner to invest $90,000 (£71,000) from her retirement savings with him under the pretence of assisting her with purchasing a home. Instead, he used these funds for personal luxuries.

Additionally, he attempted to extort $5,000 (£3,944) from a businessman and sought an additional loan of $500,000 (£394,400).

Further fraudulent activities included submitting a tampered application for a $250k (£197,246) business loan.

As investigations into his alleged crimes unfolded, FBI investigators reported that he provided false information during their inquiries.

Following incarceration, Miller-Whitehead will undergo three years of supervised release and is ordered to pay $85,000 (£67,000) in restitution and forfeit another $95,000 (£74,953).

Dawn Florio, representing Miller-Whitehead legally, expressed their intention to appeal the verdict. "Despite this setback," Florio told The Independent, "we remain steadfast in our belief in Bishop Lamor Miller Whitehead’s innocence and are committed to continuing the fight... Our dedication to proving Bishop Whitehead’s innocence is unwavering."

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