A New York City pastor who said he was robbed in the middle of his sermon on July 24 may not be the innocent victim he portrayed himself as.
According to The City, a lawsuit filed last year in Brooklyn Supreme Court accused the pastor, Lamor Whitehead, of defrauding 56-year-old Pauline Anderson out of $90,000.
Anderson alleged Whitehead convinced her to invest most of her savings into one of his firms. She was a parishioner at the Brooklyn campus of Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches, where Whitehead is a bishop.
Anderson said Whitehead promised in turn for the money, he would help her buy a house despite her bad credit history.
In the lawsuit, she said she wrote a $90,000 cashier’s check to Whitehead in November 2020. She said he was supposed to give her a monthly allowance of $100 to pay living expenses.
According to the lawsuit, Whitehead allegedly had not paid the monthly payments or given any update on buying her a home.
When Anderson questioned him about it, he allegedly said he was treating the $90,000 as a donation to his then-campaign for Brooklyn borough president and did not need to pay it back.
“Mr. Whitehead fraudulently induced Ms. Anderson to liquidate her entire life savings to pay him the ‘investment’ of $90,000.00, promising to use the funds to purchase and renovate a house for her,” the lawsuit alleged.
“Ms. Anderson was instead left with nothing but a vague promise by Mr. Whitehead to pay the funds back in the future followed by an assertion that he had no further obligation to do so.”
While Whitehead reportedly did not comment when The City reached out to him, he told the Daily News her son Rasheed used to be in his ministry.
“Her son was a member of my ministry who was removed because he was unintegral,” Whitehead said. “It’s a lawsuit because of who I am.”
Whitehead told the Daily News he wanted to talk to his lawyer before commenting further, but he suggested his fame motivated the lawsuit.
“Everybody that tried to sue me because of my celebrity status is just gonna keep going in trying to do what they do,” Whitehead said.
On July 24, New York City police said Whitehead and his wife were robbed at gunpoint during a live-streamed church service. Police said some of the churchgoers may have also been robbed of their belongings.
“They took all of my wife’s jewelry and took all of my jewelry,” Whitehead said.
While Whitehead’s own alleged crimes certainly do not excuse the behavior of these alleged criminals, they do show that he may not be the innocent victim that many initially assumed. Whitehead’s alleged defrauding was not his only crime, either.
In 2016, the New York Post reported Whitehead had served jail time on multiple counts of identity fraud and grand larceny. He was released in July 2013.
He also claimed his group had a collaborative justice initiative with the New York District Attorney’s office, which the DA’s office denied in 2014.
“There was never any partnership or initiative together with him and this office,” DA spokesman Oren Yaniv told The Post after the DA’s office sent a cease and desist to Whitehead.
Again, all of this does not suggest Whitehead or anyone else in his church deserved to be robbed. It does, however, add an intriguing new layer to the case.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.