Alexandria, VA

An Alexandria woman pleaded guilty to money laundering as part of a scheme to defraud investors in a church-related investment business.

The fraud involved Brenda Millender and her husband, Pastor Terry Millender — leaders of the Victorious Life Church — soliciting themselves as leaders of a Christian organization brokering Nigerian oil sales. The pair were convicted in 2017.

Today, Millender pled guilty to money laundering for using access to bank accounts to receive checks written fraudulently.

Last February, Terry Millender was sentenced to eight years in prison.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice:

Brenda Millender, 60, was the wife of Pastor Terry Millender and the First Lady of Victorious Life Church in Alexandria. Terry Millender created a company called Kingdom Commodities Unlimited (KCU), which marketed itself as a Christian organization that was looking for 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, as well as material omissions about how funds would be disbursed.

Millender had access to various KCU bank accounts and she received cash from those accounts which had the effect of concealing the source and use of those funds. In some cases, checks written from KCU accounts had false and misleading descriptions on the memo lines, such as referencing the repayment of loans or office expenses, when in fact 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.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 21, with a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, though the actual sentence is likely to be less.

Photo via Google Maps

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The Alexandria Fire Department has identified a suspect behind the intentional burning of a truck in the city’s impound lot (5249 Eisenhower Avenue) on July 30.

An Arlington County police officer witnessed the incident, and reported seeing two cars enter the north parking lot of 3575 Potomac Avenue.

“Approximately one to two minutes later, the law enforcement officer witness heard a loud ‘whoosh’ sound and observed (the suspect’s) vehicle being on fire and fully engulfed in flames,” notes a search warrant affidavit. “The witness then observed an individual enter a passenger side door of the second vehicle and the second vehicle left the scene.”

Fire officials determined after extinguishing the blaze that the 2016 black four-seat Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was missing its VIN plate on the dashboard and license plates.

The suspect reported the missing truck to his insurance company on August 4, and said it was stolen in Wilmington, North Carolina. He told law enforcement that he’d last seen his truck on August 2 and that it was stolen on August 3, according to the affidavit.

No charges have been filed against the suspect, and the fire department says this is an ongoing investigation.

According to the city, the impound lot processes about 3,000 vehicles every year. It is located near the Van Dorn Metro station, a number of businesses and apartments.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

ALXnow Launches Today — This is the first post on the first day of ALXnow. Our goal is to bring Alexandria timely, relevant and useful local news coverage that uncovers unreported stories and drives community conversations. We hope you like it.

About the Morning Notes — Morning Notes posts like this one will be published on most weekday mornings and will highlight notable social media posts, press releases and the reporting of other news outlets. Most posts will be shorter than this one — we’re catching up! Each Morning Notes post will also feature a photo from around town, often from our staff photographer, Jay Westcott. You can submit photos for possible publication too: email us at [email protected] or tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

All ACPS Schools Meet State Benchmark — “All schools within Alexandria City Public Schools are fully accredited for the 2019-20 academic year for the first time in 20 years. On Monday morning the Virginia Department of Education announced the results that all ACPS schools met the state benchmark for the first time since the accreditation system first began in 1999.” [ACPS]

Bank Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud — “An Alexandria bank branch manager pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $500,000 from older customers after gaining their trust to personally handle their transactions. Fetehi Mohammed, a manager since 2015 at the Wells Fargo Bank branch near the intersection of Quaker Lane and King Street, reviewed which customers had enough money that his unauthorized withdrawals would not attract notice.” [Washington Post]

Proposed Shelter for Migrant Kids Nixed — “Plans for a facility to house unaccompanied migrant children in Northern Virginia have been scrapped after pushback from local leaders and community members. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson tweeted an email he received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirming that the Office of Refugee Resettlement was no longer considering Northern Virginia as a potential site for an unaccompanied migrant children shelter.” [WTOP]

Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested — “Alexandria police have a subject is in custody for robbing an Alexandria bank. The robbery happened at the 300 block of South Van Dorn street at around 11:15 AM on Saturday. Alexandria police arrived on the scene and made an arrest.” [Twitter, WDVM]

Hank’s Pasta Bar Closes — “Hank’s Pasta Bar closed Wednesday after 3 years in business. The restaurant, at 600 Montgomery Street in Old Town North, closed to make room for a new Italian restaurant that will open later this year.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Meeting Today About Proposed Noise Law Changes — “[Alexandria] is planning major revisions to its Noise Control Code, and it is asking the community to weigh in on proposed changes to the ordinance. Changes to the code, which was first adopted more than 55 years ago in 1963, include expanded wording in the animals section, which sets specific limits on barks, howls, bays, meows, squawks, quacks or other sounds between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.” [WTOP]

Joint Arlington and Alexandria Meeting Tonight — “Building on the two localities’ collaborative success in recruiting unprecedented new investments in National Landing, the Alexandria City Council and the Arlington County Board will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday, October 1, to discuss the development of a formal framework to continue working together on key policy issues that support inclusive growth.” [City of Alexandria]

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