4 members of a Florida family are convicted of selling a fake COVID-19 cure through online church
Jul 19, 2023, 4:33 PM
MIAMI (AP) — Four members of a Florida family were convicted Wednesday of selling a toxic industrial bleach as a fake COVID-19 cure through their online church.
A federal jury in Miami found Mark Grenon, 65, and his sons, 37-year-old Jonathan, 35-year-old Joseph and 29-year-old Jordan, guilty of conspiring to defraud the United States and deliver misbranded drugs, according to court records. That charge carries up to five years in prison. Their sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 6.
The Grenons represented themselves but declined to speak during the Miami Herald reported. After the jury delivered its verdict, Joseph Grenon said they would be appealing.
Prosecutors called the Grenons “con men” and “snake-oil salesmen” and said the Bradenton family’s Genesis II Church of Health and Healing sold $1 million worth of their so-called Miracle Mineral Solution. In videos, it was pitched as a cure for 95% of known diseases, including COVID-19, Alzheimer’s, autism, brain cancer, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis, prosecutors said.
What the Grenons were selling was actually chlorine dioxide, officials said. When ingested, the solution becomes a bleach that is typically used for such things as treating textiles, industrial water, pulp and paper, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Authorities said it is the same as drinking bleach and can be fatal.
A Miami federal judge ordered the church to stop selling the substance in 2020, but that was ignored.
Jonathan and Jordan Grenon were arrested in Bradenton, just south of the Tampa Bay area. Mark and Joseph Grenon fled to Colombia, where they were arrested and extradited back to the U.S.
Besides the fraud convictions, Jonathan and Jordan Grenon were also convicted of violating federal court orders requiring them to stop selling Miracle Mineral Solution in 2020. U.S. authorities agreed to drop those same contempt charges against Mark and Joseph Grenon as a condition of their extradition from Colombia.