Savings

Brooklyn pastor robbed during sermon stole savings from parishioner, lawsuit claims

The Brooklyn pastor who says he was Fly giving his Sunday sermon stole $90,000 in retirement savings from one of his own parishioners, a court case filed last year in Brooklyn Supreme Court alleges.

Lamor Whitehead, the Bishop of Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches in Canarsie, is accused of convincing Pauline Anderson, 56, to invest almost all of her life savings in one of his businesses – with the promise that he could l help buy a house despite his poor credit history, court documents say.

Anderson wrote Whitehead a cashier’s check for $90,000 in November 2020 and relied on him to give him monthly stipends of $100 to pay for his living expenses, according to the lawsuit.

After months passed in early 2021 with no monthly payments or progress on the home purchase, Whitehead reportedly told Anderson he was treating his investment as a donation to his then-campaign for president of the borough of Brooklyn.

He said he had no obligation to pay it back.

“Mr. Whitehead fraudulently induced Ms. Anderson to liquidate all of her savings to pay him the $90,000.00 ‘investment’, promising to use the funds to purchase and renovate a home for her,” the lawsuit alleges.

“Ms. Anderson was instead left with nothing but a vague promise from Mr. Whitehead to repay the funds in the future, followed by an assertion that he had no further obligation to do so.

Anderson declined to comment through a family member, who said Anderson did not want to speak as litigation is still ongoing.

Whitehead, who shared a close relationship with Mayor Eric Adams when Adams was Brooklyn Borough President, did not respond to a message left at his church on Wednesday. He previously served time in state prison following convictions for impersonation and robbery.

Video which went viral on Sunday shows three black-clad men robbing Whitehead and his wife of their expensive jewelry in the middle of his sermon shortly after 11 a.m.

One of the men appears to put a gun to Whitehead’s back as he retrieves the jewelry, which was reportedly appraised between $400,000 and $1 million.

Whitehead, a pastor known for his Instagram videos showing off his high-end tastes in cars, clothes and real estate, said offered $50,000 information leading to the arrest of suspected bandits.

The NYPD Wednesday surveillance video released which shows the three suspected thieves crossing the street just before entering the small Canarsie Church in Whitehead.

Looking for a home

Anderson’s son, Rasheed Anderson, was the one who introduced her to Whitehead shortly after she became a parishioner at the church in January 2020, according to the lawsuit.

She had just recovered from life-threatening surgery and Whitehead had offered to join her for a phone call to pray for her health.

In July 2020, Anderson reached out to Whitehead about his desire to buy a home, asking for help with his bad credit and for help finding a home.

Whitehead previously helped Rasheed find housing, according to court documents.

Whitehead quickly phoned Anderson with two lenders who told Anderson she would have trouble getting a loan to buy a house. It was then that he offered to help her himself, if she invested her money in his business, Lamor Whitehead Inc.

Court documents say she expressed reservations because she had no income other than savings, which is when Whitehead offered to give her the $100 monthly allowance for that he was looking for a suitable house to buy.

She received no receipt for the $90,000 cashier’s check she wrote to Lamor Whitehead Inc in November 2020, according to the court filing.

After the first monthly stipend was paid in January 2021, Whitehead essentially disappeared and cited his campaign for Brooklyn Borough President as the reason he was too busy. He said Anderson’s money had been invested and was not easy to access, according to text messages tendered as exhibits at trial.

Campaign finance records show Anderson donated $175 to Whitehead’s campaign on Jan. 10, 2021. Whitehead did not receive any public matching dollars, according to BFC records.

On May 19, 2021, text messages submitted as evidence at trial alleges that Whitehead told Anderson, “And for the record, anything given to me is a gift unless it’s attached to a contract!” I was making investments, that’s what I do!

In July 2021, Whitehead apparently accidentally emailed Rasheed a copy of a Contract for a purchase Whitehead was making of a $4.4 million mansion in Saddle River, NJ.

The lawsuit claims Whitehead used Anderson’s $90,000 as a down payment on the contract for this purchase, but public records show the purchase never took place.

Whitehead completed a $4.5 million purchase of a half-block of apartments in Hartford, CT later that year through his company Whitehead Estates, LLC, according to public records.

He also owns a home in Paramus, NJ, which he bought for $1.6 million in 2019, according to public records.

Fraud and Larceny

Anderson is not the first person to accuse Whitehead of defrauding them of large sums of money.

In 2016, the New York Post reported that Whitehead still owed Monterey Symphony conductor Maximo Bragado-Darman $260,000 for an earlier court judgment regarding an unpaid personal loan.

This loan also involved an alleged real estate transaction.

Bragado-Darman’s attorney did not respond to a voicemail requesting an update on the case.

Whitehead has already served five years in Sing Sing Prison on multiple counts of impersonation and grand larceny before coming out in 2013.

Despite his checkered history, Whitehead enjoyed a close relationship with Mayor Eric Adams, particularly during Adams’ eight years as Brooklyn Borough President.

Adams has appeared at numerous public events alongside Whitehead, and in August 2016 introduced Whitehead at an outdoor concert in Brooklyn as “my good friend and my good brother”.

More recently, following the high-profile shooting of a Goldman Sachs employee on the Q train in May, Whitehead has tried to assist Adams in negotiations to bring the suspect, Andrew Abdullah, to surrender. Whitehead hoped to personally escort the wanted man to the mayor, but police finished arresting the suspect outside the Legal Aid Society office in Manhattan.

Two months later, after gunmen stormed the church in Whitehead, Adams publicly promised to act for his friend.

“No one in this city should be the victim of armed robbery, let alone our religious leaders and our congregants who worship in a house of God,” Adams said. Told Monday’s Daily News. “The NYPD is investigating this crime and will work tirelessly to bring the criminals involved to justice.”

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