MIAMI (AP) — A Florida family accused of selling a toxic industrial bleach as a fake COVID-19 cure through their online church is on trial this week in Miami.
Mark Grenon, 65, and his sons, 37-year-old Jonathan, 35-year-old Joseph and 29-year-old Jordan, are all charged with conspiring to defraud the United States and deliver misbranded drugs, according to court records.
The Grenons are representing themselves but declined to make opening statements as the trial began Monday, the Miami Herald reported. They have pleaded not guilty.
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 purported 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.