Three months after a Florida man and his three sons werethrough their online church, a federal judge in Miami sentenced them to serve prison time.
Jonathan Grenon, 37, and Jordan Grenon, 29, were sentenced on Friday to 151 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States by distributing an unapproved and misbranded drug, and for contempt of court, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida. Mark Grenon, 66, and Joseph Grenon, 36, were sentenced to 60 months in prison, the statutory maximm for conspiring to defraud the United States by distributing an unapproved and misbranded drug.
All four had been found guilty by a federal judge this summer after a two-day trial where the Grenons represented themselves, according to The Miami Herald. Mark Grenon is the father of Jonathan, Jordan and Joseph Grenon.
Prosecutors called the Grenons “con men” and “snake-oil salesmen” and said the family’s Genesis II Church of Health and Healing sold $1 million worth of their so-called Miracle Mineral Solution, distributing it to tens of thousands of people nationwide. In videos, the solution was sold as a cure for 95% of known diseases, including COVID-19, Alzheimer’s, autism, brain cancer, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis, prosecutors said.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not approved MMS for treatment of COVID-19, or for any other use. The FDA had strongly urged consumers not to purchase or use MMS for any reason, saying that drinking MMS was the same as drinking bleach and could cause dangerous side effects, including severe vomiting, diarrhea, and life-threatening low blood pressure. The FDA received reports of people requiring hospitalizations, developing life-threatening conditions, and even dying after drinking MMS.
A Miami federal judgeto stop selling the substance in 2020, but that was ignored.
During the trial in July, the jury saw photos and video of a dirty rundown shed in Jonathan Grenon’s backyard in Bradenton, Florida, where the defendants were manufacturing MMS. The photos showed dozens of blue chemical drums containing nearly 10,000 pounds of sodium chlorite powder, thousands of bottles of MMS, and other items used in the manufacture and distribution of MMS. The blue chemical drums of sodium chlorite powder—the primary active ingredient in MMS—were affixed with warning labels advising the product was toxic and highly dangerous to consume.
Genesis’ websites describe Genesis as a “non-religious church,” and defendant Mark Grenon, the co-founder of Genesis, has repeatedly acknowledged that Genesis “has nothing to do with religion,” and that he founded Genesis to “legalize the use of MMS” and avoid “going [ ] to jail.”