In a federal court in Miami, a father and his three sons, accused of selling a poisonous industrial bleaching agent as a miraculous medical cure through their self-styled church in Florida, sat quietly as prosecutors presented their case against them. Mark Grenon, 65, and his sons Jonathan, 37, Joseph, 35, and Jordan, 29, appeared in matching beige inmate uniforms, sporting ponytails and flowing beards. Despite representing themselves, they chose not to speak during the opening statements of their fraud trial, which could potentially result in lengthy prison sentences.
Prosecutors portrayed the Grenons, based in Bradenton, as “con men” and “snake-oil salesmen” who used the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, a phony religious front, to market their “Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS) as a cure for 95% of known diseases, including AIDS and COVID-19. They operated the church website and referred to themselves as “bishops,” selling MMS as “sacraments” across the United States in exchange for “donations” to the Genesis church.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intervened in 2020, charging the Grenons with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government for distributing an unapproved and misbranded drug. The family continued to distribute the toxic MMS even after FDA warnings and court orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in the first pandemic-related enforcement action in Florida. The FDA received several reports of hospitalizations and life-threatening conditions related to the ingestion of the dangerous substance.
MMS, a chemical solution containing sodium chlorite and water, becomes chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach, when mixed with a citric acid “activator.” The substance is typically used for industrial water treatment or bleaching textiles, pulp, and paper.
Before the trial, U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga instructed jurors that the Grenons could not use the First Amendment, specifically religious freedom, as a defense since their so-called church was not a legitimate religious entity. Prosecutors honed in on this point, emphasizing that the Grenons sold the “miracle” chemical solution through a religious website to evade government regulations and potential incarceration.
Testimony from FDA special agent Jose Rivera, who conducted an undercover investigation, focused on three videos produced by the Grenons, promoting MMS as a cure for cancer, lung cancer, and COVID-19. The videos falsely claimed the substance had proven to be effective in curing cancer and that it could cure the coronavirus.
As part of his investigation, Rivera purchased multiple bottles of MMS from the Grenons’ website, shipped to addresses in Florida and Georgia. One complaint stated that the fictional wife of the undercover agent, portrayed as battling cancer, showed no improvement after three weeks of taking MMS. In response, one of Grenon’s sons suggested using the substance for a longer duration.
Prosecutors revealed that the Grenons’ Genesis II Church of Health and Healing had been selling tens of thousands of MMS orders since 2010, violating federal law. Mark Grenon claimed to have founded the organization in 2010 with a man named Jim Humble, intending to avoid government regulation while promoting MMS as a miracle cure. Humble, who had connections with Scientology and claimed to be a billion-year-old god, started promoting MMS as early as 2006 after supposedly discovering its medical properties during a gold-mining expedition in South America. Although Humble left the organization in 2017, the Grenons continued to manufacture, promote, and sell MMS with their religious facade.
The Grenons came under federal scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic when they falsely promoted MMS as a cure for the virus. After receiving a warning letter from federal authorities ordering them to halt sales, the family defiantly refused to comply. A federal raid on their home resulted in criminal charges. Loaded guns, nearly 10,000 pounds of sodium chlorite powder, and thousands of MMS bottles were found during the raid. While Jonathan and Jordan were arrested in Bradenton, Mark and Joseph fled to Colombia and were later arrested and held for extradition.
The trial continues, and the Grenons face severe consequences if found guilty of their fraudulent and dangerous activities.
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