Prosecutors say a father and his three sons used religious language and titles to falsely peddle bleach as a cure to many illnesses, including COVID-19 and autism.
Two of the four suspects appeared in court Monday morning.
For over a decade, 62-year-old Mark Grenon and his three adult sons allegedly led vulnerable Floridians and others to believe their bleach solution "Miracle Mineral Solution" (MMS) could solve a variety of ailments including cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer's disease. Recently, the group made claims it could cure COVID-19.
Calling their business Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, Mark claimed to be the archbishop of the church of his own making.
"According to charging documents, Genesis’ own websites describe Genesis as a 'non-religious church,' and Defendant Mark Grenon, the co-founder of Genesis, has repeatedly acknowledged that Genesis “has nothing to do with religion,” and that he founded Genesis to “legalize the use of MMS” and avoid “going to jail," the Department of Justice in the Southern District of Florida says in a release.
MMS consists of sodium chlorite and water. The FDA says when this is ingested orally, it becomes a powerful bleach often used to bleach paper and textiles.
"In prior official warning statements, the FDA had strongly urged consumers not to purchase or use MMS for any reason, explaining that drinking MMS was the same as drinking bleach and could cause dangerous side effects, including severe vomiting, diarrhea, and life-threatening low blood pressure."
Despite warnings, the family sold tens of thousands of bottles throughout the United States, targeting vulnerable people as customers. Using the guise of donations, the family set unflexible donation prices required to receive a bottle of MMS, making them over $1 million.
When conducting a search warrant, dozens of blue chemical drums containing nearly 10,000 pounds of sodium chlorite powder, thousands of bottles of MMS, and other manufacturing items were found in the family's shed in Bradenton, Florida. They also found several firearms, including one concealed in a custom violin case.
Two sons, Jonathan and Jordan have been denied bail. Courts say they are a danger to the community. They both were arrested last summer.
The father, Mark, and his son Joseph are in Colombia.