A Florida man and his three sons sold the equivalent of industrial grade bleach to tens of thousands of people, mixing it in a backyard shed and marketing it as a miracle cure for COVID-19.
The family created an online, “non-religious church” that required “donations” in order to buy the solution, thinking that would spare them from legal responsibility.
It did not.
Mark Grenon, 66, and his sons Jonathan Grenon, 37; Jordan Grenon, 29; and Joseph Grenon, 36; were all sentenced to prison in Miami federal court Friday.
The family began “Genesis II Church of Health and Healing” over a decade ago, according to court records, so that they could sell their “Miracle Mineral Solution,” a mix of sodium chloride and water which, when ingested, becomes chlorine dioxide, the equivalent of a powerful bleach used in industrial water treatments or on textiles.
The Grenons mixed the bleach in a shed in Jonathan’s backyard and sold tens of thousands of bottles to customers in South Florida and across the country, amassing more than $1 million.
Now, Jordan and Jonathan Grenon each were sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States by distributing an unapproved and misbranded drug, and for contempt of court, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida said in the release Friday.
Mark and Joseph Grenon each were sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum sentence for conspiring to defraud the United States by distributing an unapproved and misbranded drug.
Mark and Joseph Grenon fled to Colombia, where they were arrested and extradited back to the U.S. This past summer, a federal jury found all four guilty.
Jordan and Jonathan Grenon faced steeper sentences because they were also found guilty of criminal contempt of court for continuing to sell the chemical against a Miami judge’s orders in a separate, civil case, threatening the judge who made the order, and saying on a podcast that they would “pick up guns” and pull “a Waco” if the government tried to stop them, according to the State Attorney’s Office release.
U.S. authorities agreed to drop those same contempt charges against Mark and Joseph Grenon as a condition of their extradition from Colombia.
For the last 10 years, the family manufactured the solution, according to a criminal complaint. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they marketed it as a cure for 95% of known diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, malaria, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS.
In addition to their federal prison sentences, each of the Grenons was also ordered to pay close to $2,000 in restitution.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.