Terry Wayne Millender and his wife Brenda have tons of explaining to do.
The senior pastor at Victorious Life Church in Virginia and his wife were arrested earlier this week in an alleged congregation fraud scheme. They are being accused of defrauding their Alexandria congregation out of more than $1 million, The Root reports.
They were recently indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money-laundering. Police say that the charges stem from an investment scam in which the Millenders convinced congregations to invest in their company, Micro-Enterprise Management Group, which allegedly helped poor people in developing countries. Some investors reportedly gave sums ranging from $40,000 to $400,000.
All hell broke loose when it was discovered that instead of using the money for its intended mission, the Millenders 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 couple and other personal expenses. A former church member, Eric Brown, told reporters, “It didn’t really come as a shock—it was more of a sigh of relief. 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.”
Brenda Millender was released after the initial hearing. However, Terry Millender is being held without bond until another hearing set for Wednesday.
SOURCE: The Root | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty