Austin St. John, 47, McKinney, TX, is one of 18 people charged in a Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) fraud scheme that allegedly involved 16 loans and $3.5 million.
St. John is best known as the original Red Power Ranger in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series. The series was launched in 1993.
Austin St. John’s former Mighty Morphin Power Ranger charged with PPP loan fraud
St. John was one of the original Power Rangers. He played the fictional character Jason Lee Scott, as the Red Power Ranger known as Tyrannosaurus. Tyrannosaurus was the leader of the group and could wield the mighty mighty sword.
The Power Sword was only used in one episode. It’s ironic now – the episode was called The Green Dream.
St. John left the Power Rangers franchise after a few seasons, citing a contract dispute.
In a statement from St. John’s officials, they say, “Austin St. John is a father, husband, role model and friend to many. The indictment detailed today is populated by a multitude of individuals, the majority of whom have no knowledge, and have never met or interacted with. We understand that Austin put his faith, reputation and finances in the hands of third parties whose goals were self-serving and ultimately manipulated and betrayed his trust. We expect Austin’s legal team to successfully defend against these charges and lead to his ultimate exoneration.
The PPP Green Dream Fraud Program
St. John (his legal name is Jason Lawrence Geiger) was among 18 charged May 12 in the Eastern Federal District of Texas, U.S. Attorney’s Office. He and the others are charged with federal wire fraud. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison. He pleaded not guilty.
According to the press release issued by the US Attorney’s office, the group had two ringleaders, Michael “Tank” Hill, 47, Mineral Wells, TX, and Andrew Moran, 43, Lewisville. Hill and Moran assisted others with the paperwork of applying for PPPs, including setting up shell companies and falsifying supporting documents.
In return for the assistance, a portion of the monies obtained by the individuals was transferred to Hill and Moran, or to the individuals’ personal accounts. In some cases, funds were funneled to fellow 18 member Jonathan Spencer, 33, Rowlett, Texas. Spencer allegedly invested the money in the foreign exchange markets.
All 18 will appear before a federal magistrate in the Eastern District of Texas. A hearing has not yet been set.
Reports of PPP Fraud and Other Covid Relief Fraud
It could be years before investigations into the extent of the Covid Relief fraud are complete. According to some estimates, PPP fraud could reach $80 billion, or about 10% of the $800 billion PPP.
Unemployment fraud estimates range from $90 billion to $400 billion, from the $900 billion Covid unemployment aid package. Add another potential $80 billion from the Economic Impact Disaster Loan program.
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