ALEXANDRIA, VA (WUSA9) - An Alexandria pastor was behind bars Monday charged with bilking church members out of their investments in a Ponzi scheme.
Terry Millender is a fire and brimstone type of pastor who heads up the Victorious Life Church.
He and his wife were arrested Sunday and appeared in federal court Monday afternoon.
Millender posted on his Facebook page on Sunday morning, saying "Organized religion often can't be fully trusted. It too has an agenda."
Millender's fiery sermons are delivered at a public high school.
The federal government accuses Millender and his wife Brenda of defrauding their parishioners.
Millender's attorney Drew Hutcheson said the pastor was under investigation a year and half ago, but was never changed and he thought the case was closed.
Millender and his wife operated a company called Micro-Enterprise Management Group a Virginia company that alleged to help poor people in developing countries by providing small, short-term loans.
The defendants recruited investors by emphasizing its Christian mission and assured their investments were backed by their company.
The government said the Millender's used the money instead to conduct risky trading on the foreign exchange currency market, and to purchase $1.75 million home.
Brenda Millender was released on bond and so was another woman also charged. Millender has his own bond hearing coming up Wednesday. His attorney said he should be released because he's not a threat to society or a flight risk.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.