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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Washington, DC Area Pastor and Wife Charged With $1.2 Million Congregation Fraud Scheme

Pastor and Wife Convicted For Fraud

Alexandria, VA — Terry Wayne and Brenda Millender, a local pastor and his wife, were recently arrested for their alleged involvement in a $1.2 million fraud scheme that victimized hundreds of members in their congregation at Victorious Life Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Also, arrested was a woman by the name of Grenetta Wells who is affiliated with the church.

The three have also been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Reportedly, they were operating a company called Micro-Enterprise Management Group that claimed to help poor people in developing countries by providing small, short-term loans to start or expand existing businesses. The concept was that they were working with a network of established micro-finance institutions, but investigators says it was nothing more than a big fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, they successfully recruited investors by emphasizing its Christian mission and use of the funds to help the poor, but later used the money to conduct risky trading on the foreign exchange currency market, options trading, payments toward the purchase of a $1.75 million residence for the Millenders and other personal expenses

The indictment claims some individual investors gave the Millenders investments in the amount of $40,000, $50,000, $84,000 and $400,000.

When the investors became suspicious, the three allegedly began assuring investors that they would get their money back but blaming the delays on the 2008 financial crisis.

Eric Brown, a former member of the church, said that there had been rumors for years about their financial misconduct.

He told Fox 5 DC, “It didn’t really come as a shock – it was more of a sigh of relief.” He said that his own family invested thousands of dollars into their pastor’s “business” agendas. He recalls, “I asked him like, ‘Hey, that’s a nice car.’ 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.”

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