Va. Pastor, Wife Arrested In $1,200,000 Congregation Fraud Scheme

A Virginia pas­tor, his wife and a friend of theirs are all being accused of defraud­ing their Alexandria con­gre­ga­tion out of more than $1 mil­lion, Fox 5 DC reports.

According to the report, Terry Wayne Millender, who serves as pas­tor for Victorious Life Church in Alexandria; his wife, Brenda; and a friend, Grenetta Wells, who is also affil­i­at­ed with the church, were all recent­ly indict­ed by a fed­er­al grand jury on charges of con­spir­a­cy to com­mit wire fraud and mon­ey-laun­der­ing conspiracy.

The trio alleged­ly under­lined their business’s Christian mis­sion and promised guar­an­teed rates of return. Some investors gave sums rang­ing from $40,000 to $400,000, author­i­ties say.

However, instead of using the mon­ey for its intend­ed mis­sion, the Millenders and Wells alleged­ly con­duct­ed risky trad­ing on the for­eign-exchange cur­ren­cy mar­ket and also helped fund the pur­chase of a lav­ish $1.75 mil­lion res­i­dence for the Millenders and oth­er per­son­al expens­es for the defendants.

When parish­ioners began to ques­tion when they would get their mon­ey back, the defen­dants blamed delays on the 2008 finan­cial cri­sis, author­i­ties say.

It didn’t real­ly come as a shock — it was more of a sigh of relief,” Eric Brown, a for­mer church mem­ber, told Fox 5 DC. According to the news sta­tion, Brown’s fam­i­ly was one of those who invest­ed in the alleged fraud scheme, although they are not a part of the fed­er­al case.

I asked him like, ‘Hey, that’s a nice car,’” Brown told the sta­tion regard­ing one con­ver­sa­tion he said he had with Terry Millender. “He said, ‘Yeah, $100,000 car. If you save up your mon­ey, God’s going to bless you.’ Come to find out now, it was actu­al­ly part of our money.”

Both Terry Millender and Grenetta Wells were held with­out bond until anoth­er hear­ing set for Wednesday. Brenda Millender was released after the ini­tial hear­ing. Read more @ https://​www​.wash​ing​ton​post​.com/​l​o​c​a​l​/​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​s​a​f​e​t​y​/​p​a​s​t​o​r​-​a​n​d​-​w​i​f​e​-​f​o​u​n​d​-​g​u​i​l​t​y​-​i​n​-​d​e​f​r​a​u​d​i​n​g​-​o​f​-​f​r​i​e​n​d​s​-​f​l​o​c​k​-​o​f​-​m​i​l​l​i​o​n​s​-​o​f​-​d​o​l​l​a​r​s​/​2​0​1​7​/​1​2​/​1​9​/​2​9​a​e​2​4​e​4​-​e​4​1​0​-​1​1​e​7​-​8​3​3​f​-​1​5​5​0​3​1​5​5​8​f​f​4​_​s​t​o​r​y​.​h​t​m​l​?​u​t​m​_​t​e​r​m​=​.​4​4​9​b​a​c​1​e​4​f7e