Power Ranger Actor Charged in Connection with COVID Relief Scheme
An actor who played one of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was charged over his alleged involvement in a scheme to fraudulently obtain federal COVID-19 relief money. Actor Jason Lawrence Geiger, 47, played the red ranger in multiple seasons of the 90’s television series.
Geiger, whose stage name is Austin St. John, was one of 19 people charged in the scheme. The accused individuals received at least 16 fraudulent loans totaling $3.5 million, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.
The indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on May 12, 2022, charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a group led by Michael Hill and Andrew Moran is alleged to have executed a scheme to defraud lenders and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Geiger, the former Red Power Ranger, was allegedly part of the network.
“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,” prosecutors said.
“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. Based on these material misrepresentations, the SBA and other financial institutions approved and issued loans to the defendants.”
The loans were provided as part of the federal government’s massive $349 billion federal CARES Act. Funding was supposed to go to businesses who either lost money or were forced to close as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, but the group led by Moran and Hill pocketed the cash for themselves.
In some instances, those accused sent the money to Jonathan Spencer, 33, to invest in foreign exchange markets, prosecutors said.
Geiger was arrested Tuesday and remains behind bars until a court hearing in Plano on Monday. He has pleaded not guilty to a single count against him.
According to The New York Post, the former “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” actor plans to “vigorously defend himself against this allegation.”