Former Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Charged With PPP Loan Fraud

Austin St. John, 47, McKinney, TX, is one of 18 people charged with 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 TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The series was launched in 1993.

Former Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Austin St. John 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 Power 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 representatives, they said: “Austin St. John is a father, husband, role model and friend to many. The indictment being described today is populated by a large number of individuals – the majority of whom Austin has no knowledge of, and has 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-centered and ultimately manipulated and violated his trust. We expect Austin’s legal team to successfully defend itself against these charges and lead to his eventual exemption.”

The PPP Green Dream Fraud Scheme

St. John (his official name is Jason Lawrence Geiger) was one of 18 indicted on May 12 in the Eastern Federal District of Texas, the U.S. Attorneys’ office. He and the others are charged with federal fraud. If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty.

According to the US law firm’s press release, the group had two ringleaders, Michael “Tank” Hill, 47, Mineral Wells, TX, and Andrew Moran, 43, Lewisville. Hill and Moran helped the others with paperwork for PPP applications, including setting up fictitious companies and falsifying supporting documentation.

In return for the aid, a portion of the funds obtained by the individuals was transferred to Hill and Moran, or to the individuals’ personal accounts. In some cases, funds were funneled to another member of the 18, Jonathan Spencer, 33, Rowlett, Texas. Spencer is said to have invested the money in foreign exchange markets.

All 18 will appear before a federal magistrate of the Eastern District of Texas. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Reports of PPP fraud and other Covid aid fraud

Investigations into the extent of Covid Relief fraud could take years to complete. By some estimates, PPP fraud could be as high as $80 billion, or about 10% of PPP’s $800 billion.

Estimates of unemployment fraud range from $90 billion to $400 billion, from the $900 billion Covid unemployment program. Add another potential $80 billion from the Economic Impact Disaster Loan program.

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This post Former Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Charged With PPP Loan Fraud was original published at “https://smallbiztrends.com/2022/05/former-mighty-morphin-power-ranger-austin-st-john-charged-ppp-loan-fraud.html”

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