Actor who played Red Power Ranger charged with COVID-19 loan fraud

MCKINNEY, TX – Actor Austin St. John of “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” fame has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in an FBI sting related to Paycheck Protection Program loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. John, a McKinney resident, was one of 18 people charged on May 12 in connection with the fraudulent scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas.

St. John played the Red Power Ranger, Jason Lee Scott, in the first two seasons of “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” beginning in 1993 and returned as the Gold Ranger in “Power Rangers Zeo.” in 1996. He has returned to Power Rangers shows for a few appearances since.

St. John, also known as Jason Geiger in the indictment, is accused of obtaining a loan of more than $225,000 for St. John Enterprises on June 17, 2020, according to the indictment. accusation obtained by Patch.

The conspirators were led by Michael Hill, 47, and Andrew Moran, 43, of Mineral Wells and Lewisville, respectively. Moran was the go-to person to help others complete Paycheck Protection Program applications. Once received, the conspirators would make payments to Hill and Moran and spend the money on personal purchases, according to the agency.

St. John is accused of sending more than $22,000 to a redacted name and investing $170,000, according to the indictment.

The Paycheck Protection Program funds, which were created under the CARES Act in March 2020, were intended to be used for business-related expenses such as payroll, utilities, or healthcare. health for employees. The defendants are accused of fraudulently obtaining at least 16 PPP loans totaling at least $3.5 million.

If convicted, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 in addition to forfeiture of PPP funds or property obtained through those funds, according to the act. of accusation.

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