Best known as the original Red Power Ranger, Austin St. John, whose real name is Jason Lawrence Geiger, is among the eighteen defendants named in a federal indictment for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to the indictment (via the U.S. Justice Department), most of the defendants reside in North Texas, including Frisco, Allen, Carrollton, Richardson and Dallas. They are alleged to have defrauded lenders and the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP. The program was designed to provide economic aid to those impacted by the pandemic.
“On the applications, the defendants are alleged to have misrepresented material information such as the true nature of their business, the number of employees, and the amount of payroll,” the U.S. Justice Department explained in an official release. “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.” The scheme allegedly totaled 16 loans, worth at least $3.5 million.
The defendants “have either been arrested or summoned for appearance before a federal magistrate judge,” the Justice Department adds. “If convicted, the defendants each face up to 20 years in federal prison.”
St. John was scheduled to appear at the Des Moines Con in Iowa on May 21 – 22, but according to the event’s organizers on Facebook, “Austin St. John may not be able to attend this weekend.”