MIAMI — Leaders of a enterprise masquerading as a church offered a poisonous bleach resolution as a spiritual sacrament and marketed it as a “miracle” remedy for Covid-19, most cancers, autism, Alzheimer’s illness and extra, federal prosecutors mentioned.
A federal grand jury in Miami has indicted Mark Grenon, 62, and his three sons, Jonathan Grenon, 34; Jordan Grenon, 26; and Joseph Grenon, 32; all of Bradenton, Fla. Prosecutors mentioned on Friday that they violated courtroom orders and fraudulently produced and offered greater than $1 million of their “Miracle Mineral Resolution,” a harmful industrial bleach resolution.
The answer incorporates sodium chlorite and water. When it’s ingested orally, it turns into chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach utilized in industrial water remedies and in bleaching textiles, pulp or paper, the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for the Southern District of Florida mentioned.
The federal Meals and Drug Administration warned final yr that the product the boys had been accused of promoting via the Genesis II Church of Well being and Therapeutic was “unproven and doubtlessly dangerous.”
“Regardless of a earlier warning, the Genesis II Church of Therapeutic has continued to actively place customers in danger by peddling doubtlessly harmful and unapproved chlorine dioxide merchandise,” Stephen M. Hahn mentioned final yr, when he was the F.D.A. commissioner.
The Grenons relied on a e-book, radio station and publication and cited Bible verses to market the answer to weak customers, in response to prosecutors. It was unclear whether or not anybody was sickened or died from taking the product they promoted.
In paperwork from a civil case final yr, a program analyst on the F.D.A. mentioned she ordered the bleach product and had it shipped to her. Federal prosecutors mentioned they discovered that the answer was being manufactured in a shed in Jonathan Grenon’s yard.
Officers seized dozens of blue chemical drums with almost 10,000 kilos of sodium chlorite powder that would produce 1000’s of bottles of the answer, federal prosecutors mentioned. Loaded firearms had been additionally recovered, together with a pump-action shotgun hid in a custom-made violin case, officers mentioned.
The Grenons had been every charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and felony contempt. If convicted, they may face life in jail, federal prosecutors mentioned.
The church has described itself on its web sites as a “nonreligious church,” federal prosecutors mentioned.
Mark Grenon, described as an archbishop and a founder, has additionally repeatedly mentioned that the church “has nothing to do with faith,” and that he based the establishment to legalize the usage of the bleach resolution and to keep away from going to jail, prosecutors mentioned.
The church has promoted the bleach resolution for years.
Jim Humble, a church founder and a former Scientologist, has claimed that he’s a billion-year-old god from the Andromeda galaxy. Mr. Humble, who was not charged within the case involving the Grenons, mentioned that he requested “to be put within the a part of the area navy that watched over Earth,” in response to an investigation final yr by ABC7 in Los Angeles.
Jonathan Grenon and Jordan Grenon had been arrested final summer time on associated prices primarily based on a grievance filed by federal prosecutors in Miami. They’ve been detained since their arrest primarily based on a choose’s ruling that they posed a threat of not showing at future courtroom proceedings and had been thought-about a hazard to the group.
Mark Grenon and Joseph Grenon are at present in Colombia, prosecutors mentioned. The Grenons, who couldn’t be reached, have beforehand represented themselves in courtroom.
Federal prosecutors consider that Mark Grenon and Joseph Grenon function what they name a “well being restoration heart” in Santa Marta, Colombia, the place they cost customers about $5,000 a month to remain on the compound and “dose themselves with Miracle Mineral Resolution,” courtroom data present.
Federal prosecutors introduced felony contempt prices in opposition to the Grenons, accusing them of willfully violating courtroom orders in a separate civil courtroom case final yr that directed the household to halt distribution of the answer.
Prosecutors mentioned the Grenons additionally threatened a federal choose presiding over the civil case, saying that if the federal government stopped their resolution distribution they might “decide up weapons” and instigate “a Waco,” a reference to the lethal 1993 siege by federal brokers of a spiritual sect’s compound in Texas.
This case is considered one of a number of which have been prosecuted associated to a debunked bleach remedy. In 2015, a vendor of a bleach resolution from Spokane, Wash., was sentenced to greater than 4 years in federal jail.
“I can let you know that the Division of Justice is taking the distribution of Miracle Mineral Resolution, and all chlorine dioxide merchandise, extraordinarily severely,” mentioned Michael B. Homer, the assistant U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of Florida.