A family in Florida has been accused of selling tens of thousands of bottles of bleach as a "miracle cure" for the coronavirus and other diseases.
Mark Grenon, 62, and his sons -- Jonathan, 34, Jordan, 26, and Joseph, 32 -- were accused of fraud and violating civil court orders to stop selling the bottles, according to federal court documents filed Friday.
They marketed the bottles as "Miracle Mineral Solution," or MMS, which contained a sodium chlorite solution that they recommended mixing with an acidic activator to become chlorine dioxide, or bleach. In 2019, the FDA issued a warning to not drink Miracle Mineral Solution or similar sodium chlorite products, which can be deadly and are typically used for industrial water treatment.
"Drinking any of these chlorine dioxide products can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration," the FDA wrote. "Some product labels claim that vomiting and diarrhea are common after ingesting the product. They even maintain that such reactions are evidence that the product is working. That claim is false."
The family created the solution in a backyard shed in Bradenton and sold it under the guise of a church called Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, which they created in 2010 to avoid government regulation, according to the court documents. The solution was marketed as a cure for cancer, autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, malaria, hepatitis, herpes, HIV and AIDS, and other disorders and diseases.
After they began marketing the solution as a COVID-19 cure in March 2020, the family had a jump in revenue from $32,000 per month to $123,000 per month, according to the court documents. They've sold more than 28,000 bottles, which earned them more than $1 million.
In April 2020, the U.S. filed a civil case against the family to halt them from distributing the solution, according to court documents. But the defendants continued to distribute the bottles and threatened that if the government enforced the court orders and halted the distribution, they would "pick up guns" and instigate "a Waco," court documents say
In July, federal authorities seized evidence from the property, including dozens of chemical drums with 10,000 pounds of sodium chlorite powder and thousands of bottles of the solution, according to a news release issued Friday from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Two of the sons -- Jonathan and Jordan Grenon -- were arrested last summer and are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday. Mark and Joseph Grenon are in Colombia, the attorney's office said. The indictment charges each person with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and two counts of criminal contempt. If convicted, they could face up to life imprisonment.