The Brooklyn pastor whose flashy clothing, political relationships and robbery inside his own church have kept him in the news this year has a new reason for notoriety: a rap sheet with the Feds.
Federal prosecutors arrested Bishop Lamor Whitehead, 44, charging him with committing fraud by bilking $90,000 from a member of his congregation under the guise that he would help her buy her first home in the cutthroat New York City market. That woman, Pauline Anderson, later sued Whitehead arguing he didn’t hold up to his end of the bargain, instead using her retirement savings to lay a down payment on a posh home in New Jersey for himself. Whitehead never ended up buying that home, but Anderson never got back any of her cash.
Whitehead’s attorney, Dawn Florio, denied the charges to the New York Times on Monday.
In an exclusive interview with The Root conducted last Thursday in Manhattan, Whitehead denied that Anderson was ever a member of his church and said that he never made any promises to give her money back to her. In the interview, which was scheduled and conducted before the federal charges against him were filed, Whitehead discussed the myriad scandals that have surrounded him, ranging from his lawsuit against New York radio host Miss Jones, who accused him on-air of laundering drug money, to Anderson’s lawsuit, to the infamous July robbery in which armed men stormed his church and made off with an estimated $1 million worth of jewelry.
Because of his flashy wardrobe and charismatic behavior, he had been turned from “victim to villain,” in the media, Whitehead said in the interview.
Even with—or maybe because of—the scandals, Whitehead has gone from a relatively obscure figure leading a second-floor church above a Brooklyn storefront to one of the more recognizable and polarizing figures in New York City. He’s been associated with Mayor Eric Adams, the city’s first Black mayor since David Dinkins—and was involved in negotiating the surrender of a suspect in a brazen subway killing earlier this year.