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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of Lamor Whitehead For Fraud, Extortion, And False Statements

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging LAMOR WHITEHEAD with defrauding one of his parishioners out of part of her retirement savings, attempting to extort and defraud a businessman, and lying to the FBI.  WHITEHEAD was arrested this morning and will be presented in federal court today before United States Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge Lorna G. Schofield.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As we allege today, Lamor Whitehead abused the trust placed in him by a parishioner, bullied a businessman for $5,000, then tried to defraud him of far more than that, and lied to federal agents.  His campaign of fraud and deceit stops now.”

FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said: “As we allege today, Whitehead carried out several duplicitous schemes in order to receive funds from his victims.  Additionally, when speaking with authorities, Whitehead consciously chose to mislead and lie to them.  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.”

According to the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and publicly available information:[1]

LAMOR WHITEHEAD, who leads a church in Brooklyn, New York, has engaged in a  course of conduct in which he sought money and other things of value from victims on the basis of either threats or false promises that the victims’ investments would benefit the victims financially.  First, WHITEHEAD induced one of his parishioners to invest approximately $90,000 of her retirement savings with him but instead spent the investment on luxury goods and other personal purposes.  Second, WHITEHEAD extorted a businessman for $5,000, then attempted to convince the same businessman to lend him $500,000 and give him a stake in certain real estate transactions in return for favorable actions from the New York City government, which WHITEHEAD knew he could not obtain.  In addition, when speaking with FBI agents who were executing a search warrant, WHITEHEAD falsely claimed that he had no cellphones other than the phone he was carrying when, in fact, WHITEHEAD owned a second phone, which he regularly used to communicate — including to send a text message describing it as “my other phone” shortly after telling the agents he had no other phones.

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WHITEHEAD, 45, of Paramus, New Jersey, is charged with two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of making material false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the FBI. 

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hagan Scotten, Celia V. Cohen, and Andrew Rohrbach are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the Indictment and the descriptions of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated December 19, 2022

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 22-402