Florida man Mark Grenon and his family sold thousands of bottles of a "miracle cure" through their "non-religious church," Genesis II Church of Health and Healing. A more apt name might have been the Church of Drinking Bleach. Grenon and his three sons, Jonathan, Joseph, and Jordan, were charged Wednesday with conspiracy to defraud the United States and deliver misbranded drugs, the Washington Post reports. Prosecutors say their "Miracle Mineral Solution," which they claimed could cure COVID-19, cancer, and many other illnesses, is a toxic bleach solution that has sickened and killed users. Investigators say Grenon made $500,000 from MMS sales in 2019 alone, and profits soared in March this year when the "church" claimed it was also an effective coronavirus treatment.
Buyers would receive small bottles of MMS in return for a $40 "donation" to the church. "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," Ariana Fajardo Orshan, US attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said in a statement, per USA Today. "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." In April, Grenon said he wrote to President Trump about the healing powers of bleach after the president suggested it could be a coronavirus treatment. The four men are also charged with criminal contempt for ignoring a preliminary injunction in April blocking them from selling MMS. (Read more coronavirus stories.)