Yesterday, a federal court in Washington state sentenced Louis Daniel Smith — a Spokane man who ran an online business called Project GreenLife that sold a product dubbed Miracle Mineral Solution — to 51 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
In 2013, the Justice Dept. indicted [PDF] Smith and others, alleging that the Miracle Mineral Solution — which was marketed as a treatment for everything from asthma to malaria to HIV — was nothing more than a mixture of water and sodium chlorite, an industrial chemical with various, including as a pesticide, for hydraulic fracturing and for wastewater treatment.
Not only is it illegal to sell sodium chlorite for human consumption, anyone who supplies the chemical is required to include a warning label warning against the dangers of ingesting sodium chlorite.
Compounding the danger of the product, Smith was accused of advising customers to mix the product with citric acid, creating chlorine dioxide — a chemical used to bleach textiles and pulp for paper products.
It’s also a severe respiratory and eye irritant that can cause nausea, diarrhea and dehydration. According to the DOJ, Smith actually told his customers that nausea, diarrhea and vomiting were all signs that the MMS was working. While the instructions did mention the risk of possible brain damage, the company told customers the product might still be appropriate for pregnant women or infants who were seriously ill.
Smith and his colleagues obtained the sodium chlorite by creating fictional “water purification” and “wastewater treatment” businesses.
In June, a jury convicted Smith on 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.
Three of Smith’s former Project GreenLife colleagues — Chris Olson, Tammy Olson, and Smith’s wife Karis DeLong — have already pleaded guilty to introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
“Today’s sentence is a just result reflecting the defendant’s role as the leader of a business that sold dangerous chemicals as miracle cures to sick people and their desperate loved ones,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Consumers have the right to expect that the medicines that they purchase are safe and effective.”