Woman Sentenced for $1.3 Million Investment Frauds
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Alexandria woman was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for a fraud scheme that victimized members of a church congregation and other investors.
According to court documents, Grenetta Wells, 48, served as the Chief Operating Officer of Micro-Enterprise Management Group (MEMG), a Virginia company that alleged to help poor people in developing countries by providing small, short-term loans to start or expand existing businesses by working with a network of established micro-finance institutions. Wells worked with Terry Wayne Millender, the former senior pastor of Victorious Life Church in Alexandria and Chief Executive Officer of MEMG, and his wife Brenda Millender, who was a founding member of MEMG to solicit investors. Wells and the Millenders lured investors by emphasizing MEMG’s Christian mission and use of funds to help the poor, promising guaranteed rates of return, assuring investors that the loans’ principal was safe and backed by the assets of MEMG. Instead, the money was used to conduct risky trading on the foreign exchange currency market and day trading by Wells using a company she owned called Golden Strategies, Inc. Wells was also responsible for creating website and promotional material for MEMG, as well as helping victims fill out paperwork to set up self-directed individual retirement accounts (IRAs) so that they could use retirement savings to fund their MEMG investments. In addition to her prison sentence, Wells was ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution to victims of the fraud scheme.
Wells pleaded guilty on Jan. 13, 2017, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Terry and Brenda Millender were convicted by a federal jury on Dec. 19, 2017, and are currently awaiting sentencing.
Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Kimberly Lappin, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Robert B. Wemyss, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine L. Wong, Jamar K. Walker, and Kimberly R. Pedersen prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-cr-239.