Feds charge Florida man, sons with selling fake virus cure

Feds charge Florida man, sons with selling fake virus cure

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Florida man and his three sons are facing federal charges that they illegally sold a bleachlike chemical mixture as a miracle cure for the new coronavirus and other diseases, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The substance marketed as Miracle Mineral Solution was sold nationwide through an entity called the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing in Bradenton, Florida, according to a criminal complaint. A Miami federal judge in April ordered the self-styled church to stop selling the substance, but it was ignored.

Charged in the criminal complaint are Mark Grenon, 62, and his sons, Jonathan Grenon, 34, Jordan Grenon, 26, and Joseph Grenon, 32. They are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and criminal contempt.

Records in Miami federal court Wednesday did not list attorneys for any of the Grenons. They face a maximum of between 14 and more than 17 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the solution sold by the Grenons becomes a bleach when ingested that is typically used for such things as treating textiles, industrial water, pulp and paper.

Authorities said drinking bleach can be fatal.

The FDA said in a news release last August that “ingesting these products is the same as drinking bleach. Consumers should not use these products, and parents should not give these products to their children for any reason.”

The FDA has not approved the solution for any health-related used. But the Grenons marketed it as not only a coronavirus cure but also a cure for cancer, autism, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and AIDS, according to the complaint.

“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,” Miami U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan said in a news release. “We will not sit idly by as individuals purposefully violate court orders and put the public in danger.”

The complaint says the Grenons initially agreed to abide by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams’ order that they stop selling the solution, then changed their tone in podcasts and emails to the judge herself.

“We will NOT be participating in any of your UNCONSTITUTIONAL Orders, Summons, etc,” one email from Mark Grenon read. “Again and again I have written you all that … you have NO authority over our Church.”

Florida is one of the nation’s hot spots for the coronavirus. Almost 10,000 confirmed cases were added Wednesday, bringing its total since March 1 to nearly 224,000. Almost 4,000 people have died, including 48 reported by the state Wednesday.

The state shows that 41 of the state’s 208 hospital intensive care units are at capacity and another 49 are at 90% capacity or greater. The list includes hospitals with large ICUs such as Tampa General, Baptist Hospital of Miami and UF Health Jacksonville.

Some hospital systems say they have the ability to add beds if needed.

___

Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

Curt Anderson, The Associated Press

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Flora Northwest was taken to the Ermineskin residential school when she was six years old. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Most Read