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Feds file criminal charges against ‘church’ selling ‘miracle cure’ for coronavirus

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced criminal charges against a Florida man and his three sons over their marketing of a toxic bleach as a miracle cure for everything from Alzheimer’s to multiple sclerosis, including COVID-19.

Mark Grenon, 62; Jonathan Grenon, 34; Jordan Grenon, 26; and Joseph Grenon, 32; have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and criminal contempt for selling Miracle Mineral Solution (“MMS”), a product they manufacture and promote despite a warning from the Food and Drug Administration to stop.

The Grenons sell MMS as a “sacrament” for their Genesis II Church of Health and Healing in Bradenton, Florida.

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“We can say cure, heal and treat as a Free Church,” Mark Grenon wrote in April, when the FDA issued its warning about their fraudulent claims about the product, as CrimeOnline previously reported. “Don’t need you [sic] approval or authorization for a Church Sacrament … There will be NO corrective actions on our part … You have no authority over us! … Never going to happen.”

The criminal complaint against the men also says that they threatened violence in letters to the judge presiding over the FDA’s civil case against them.

The FDA has not approved MMS or anything similar for treatment of anything. The “sacramental kit” — a two ounce bottle of sodium chlorite and water (their MMS) and a two ounce bottle of an “activator” (hydrochloric acid) — becomes “chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach typically used for industrial water treatment or bleaching textiles, pulp, and paper,” the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida said in a statement announcing the charges.

“We continue to protect the public from criminal conduct that takes advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said US Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan. “Not only is this MMS product toxic, but its distribution and use may prevent those who are sick from receiving the legitimate healthcare they need. A United States District Court already has ordered the defendants to stop distributing this product; we will not sit idly by as individuals purposefully violate Court orders and put the public in danger.”

The FDA has been warning about MMS products, sold as Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide Protocol, or Water Purification Solution, since 2010. In 2015, Louis Daniel Smith, who sold an MMS solution through a company called Project GreenLife, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit multiple crimes, three counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud or mislead and one count of fraudulently smuggling merchandise into the United States. He was sentenced to more than four years in prison.

Genesis does not sell MMS directly. Instead, it calls its product a “sacrament” and asks for donations.

“Making claims that unproven drugs, especially potentially dangerous and unapproved chlorine dioxide products, can cure or prevent COVID-19 or any other disease is unacceptable,” said Catherine Hermsen, assistant commissioner of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations. “The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing has actively and deliberately placed consumers at risk with their fraudulent Miracle Mineral Solution and Americans expect and deserve medical treatments that have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective.”

The FDA has previously sent warning letters to groups and individuals selling other products as a “cure” for coronavirus, including colloidal silver, teas, and essential oils.

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[Featured image: FDA]