Austin St. John, the original Red Power Ranger from the hit 90s TV show “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” has been charged with defrauding the U.S. government for a total of $3.5 million.
It has been revealed that Austin St. John, real name Jason Lawrence Geiger, filed fraudulent applications to receive money from the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program and transfer the money to two ringleaders, Michael Hill and Andrew Moran.
The Payment Protection Program is part of the CARES Act fund, which signed into law by former U.S. President Donald Trump in March 2020 to allocate $669 billion to help small businesses that were struggling to pay workers during the pandemic.
The Department of Justice alleges that Austin St. John obtained more than $400,000 from the scheme, which totaled $3.5 million between the 18 people charged.
The Justice Department released a statement that detailed how Austin St. John and the others defrauded the government saying,
“Hill is alleged to have recruited co-conspirators to use an existing business or create a business to submit applications to obtain PPP funding. Once enlisted, Moran is alleged to have assisted his co-conspirators with the application paperwork, including fabricating supporting documentation and submitting the application through the online portals.”
Austin St. John is best known for his role as Jason Lee Scott, the original Red Power Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which ran from 1993-1995. In the years since St. John has reprised his role on a number of occasions, including in 1997’s Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Power Rangers Zeo, Power Rangers Wild Force, and most recently in 2020’s Power Rangers Beast Morphers.
A statement by his management team, Galactic Productions, LLC, claims that St. John “put his faith, reputation, and finances in the hands of third parties whose goals were self-centered and ultimately manipulated and betrayed his trust.”
“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 which Austin has no knowledge of, and has never met or interacted with. It is our understanding that Austin put his faith, reputation, and finances in the hands of third parties whose goals were self-centered 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. We ask that you respect the privacy of Austin’s family in light of this serious situation, and thank you for your support.”
If convicted, Austin St. John could be facing up to 20 years in prison.