The actor behind the Red Power Ranger, an iconic TV superhero in the 1990s, was charged with fraud on Thursday.
Austin St. John, whose real name is Jason Lawrence Geiger, was one of 18 people charged in a federal indictment announced by U.S. attorney Brit Featherston in Texas.
According to the indictment, St. John was allegedly part of a “scheme to defraud lenders” and the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. The program helped small businesses impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and was funded by the CARES Act.
St. John and others allegedly received at least 16 loans and acquired $3.5 million in the scheme, the announcement said. If convicted, he could spend up to 20 years in federal prison.
The indictment named Michael Hill, a co-leader of the scheme, as the person who recruited St. John and others to gather existing or new businesses for PPP applications. Andrew Moran, who was also named as a co-leader of the scheme, allegedly assisted the “Power Rangers” actor and others with paperwork used to misrepresent the businesses.
“Once in receipt of the fraudulently obtained funds, the defendants did not use the money as intended, such as to pay employee salaries, cover fixed debt or utility payments, or continue health care benefits for employees,” Featherston announced. “Instead, the defendants typically paid Hill and Moran, transferred money to their personal accounts, and spent the funds on various personal purchases.”
St. John is known for playing Jason Lee Scott in the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” the first role of his career, in 1993. He left the show in its second season but would return in later renditions of the popular superhero franchise.
St. John was set to appear at Des Moines Con in Iowa this weekend, however, event organizers announced he would not attend “due to unforeseen personal obligations.”
“He sends his apologies and love to all those that were looking forward to meeting him,” wrote Galactic Productions in a Facebook post.
St. John isn’t the only Power Ranger to face legal troubles. Former “Power Rangers Wild Force” actor Ricardo Medina Jr. was sentenced to 6 years in prison in 2017 after he pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He said he stabbed a man, whom officials identified as his roommate Josh Sutter, with a sword.