Austin St. John, higher often known as the unique Red Ranger within the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” sequence, has been arrested with 17 others in an alleged $3.5 million fraud scheme.
St. John, whose actual identify is Jason Lawrence Geiger, was indicted on Thursday, May 12, and is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, he faces as much as 20 years in federal jail.
The scheme in opposition to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program was led by Michael Hill and Andrew Moran, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas mentioned in a May 18 information launch. Hill recruited enterprise homeowners to submit PPP mortgage functions, and Moran helped fabricate documentation for the funding, federal officers say.
The Paycheck Protection Program was instituted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to supply monetary help to companies adversely affected throughout the pandemic.
The 18 defendants, together with St. John, fraudulently obtained the $3.5 million by a minimum of 16 loans, officers mentioned. They are accused of not utilizing the cash for its meant functions, corresponding to paying their worker salaries.
“Instead, the defendants typically paid Hill and Moran, transferred money to their personal accounts, and spent the funds on various personal purchases,” based on a Department of Justice information launch.
Court paperwork present St. John obtained a PPP mortgage for $225,754 for St. John Enterprises. He despatched $22,529 to Hill or Moran and invested $170,000.
St. John Enterprises sells non-licensed “Power Ranger” toys and collectibles. It is operated by St. John, who lives in McKinney, Texas.
The former Red Ranger spent 16 years as a paramedic earlier than he retired in 2014, based on a biography on his web site. Since then, he has remained a fixture at comedian guide conventions all through the United States.
He was scheduled to take part within the Des Moines Con in Iowa on May 21 and 22, however canceled “due to unforeseen personal obligations.”
“He sends his apologies and love to all those that were looking forward to meeting him,” Galactic Productions mentioned. “Austin plans to be here to meet all of his fans in 2023.”