Monday, January 18, 2021

Former Alexandria pastor’s wife pleads guilty to money laundering

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A former Alexandria pastor’s wife pleaded guilty Friday to money laundering in a fraud scheme to defraud members of a Christian organization.

Brenda Millender, 60, was the wife of Senior Pastor Terry Millender and the First Lady of Victorious Life Church in Alexandria. Prosecutors said Terry Millender posed as CEO of Micro-Enterprise Management Group, which alleged it helped poor people in developing countries get short-term loans for their businesses.

He used a Christian mission to draw investors in and promised investors guaranteed rates of return. Court documents indicate he used the money instead to trade on the foreign exchange currency market, make payments on a $1.75 million residence for him and his wife and other personal expenses.

After MEMG failed, Millender created the entity called Kingdom Commodities Unlimited. According to court documents, Kingdom Commodities Unlimited marketed itself as a Christian organization seeking investors to provide financing to help facilitate and broker Nigerian oil sales. Individual investors provided money to Terry Millender from 2013 to 2016 based on his false and fraudulent representations about how their money would be used. There were also material omissions about how funds would be disbursed.

Court documents said Brenda Millender could access various KCU bank accounts and received cash from those accounts. That had the effect of concealing the source and use of those funds. Some checks written from KCU accounts had false and misleading descriptions, such as referencing the repayment of loans or office expenses. In reality, the person receiving the check had not loaned any money to KCU, was not an investor to KCU, and was not involved in KCU’s operations.

Terry Millender had been sentenced in 2019 to eight years in prison for his role in the scheme. Brenda Millender is scheduled for sentencing on April 21, 2021 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

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