Texas actor who played red Power Ranger charged with fraud in PPP loan scheme
Texas actor who played red Power Ranger charged with fraud in PPP loan scheme

PLANO, Texas – The Texas actor who played the Red Power Ranger has been charged with fraud.

A federal indictment lists Jason Lawrence Geiger, who also goes by the name Austin St. John, as one of 19 people being charged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain funds from the Paycheck Protection Program.

U.S. attorney Brit Featherston’s office in East Texas announced that Geiger, 47, and the other defendants are alleged to have fraudulently obtained at least 16 loans totaling at least $3.5 million.

The defendants were led by Michael Hill and Andrew Moran, who helped fabricate documents and forge applications to obtain PPP funding.

“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,” according to a press release from the U.S. Eastern District of Texas attorney’s office.

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Geiger, who is from McKinney, played the original red Power Ranger in the 1990s.

He was scheduled to make an appearance at Des Moines Con this weekend but an update from Facebook shows that his appearance has been canceled “due to unforeseen personal obligations.”

Each of the defendants faces up to 20 years in federal prison if they’re convicted.

The Paycheck Protection Program opened in March 2020 when President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act into law, which included language for the PPP. The Small Business Association then released general guidelines for borrowers and lenders which authorized up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.

Qualifying small businesses and other organizations were able to apply for PPP loans to help cover costs like payroll, interest on mortgage rates, rent and utilities.

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