Austin St. John, a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers star, has been charged with fraud. Let us see why was Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Star Austin Charged With Fraud.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Star Austin St.John
In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, he played Jason the Red Ranger for 79 episodes from 1993 to 1994, culminating with the episode “Opposites Attract” (though Jason continued to be featured via body doubles, voice doubles, and stock footage before being written off in “The Power Transfer”). In 1996, he appeared in 17 episodes of Power Rangers: Zeo as Jason, who temporarily gained the Gold Ranger powers. After leaving Zeo, St. John reprised his role as Jason in the 1997 film Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, alongside former co-star Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly Ann Hart).
Following the film, St. John and former Power Rangers castmate Walter Jones co-hosted the 1999 Power Rangers special “The Lost Episode” (Zack Taylor). In the Power Rangers: Wild Force episode “Forever Red,” St. John resumed his role as Jason in 2002. He starred with nine other former Red Ranger actors, including Jason David Frank, who he previously worked with on the show (Tommy Oliver). This was his only appearance in the Power Rangers franchise until 2020 when he returned to reprise his role as Jason in the Beast Morphers episode “Grid Connection.”
St. John attended the first Power Morphicon in the Summer of 2007, where he met numerous fans and was interviewed alongside Walter Jones, Johnny Yong Bosch (Adam Park), Steve Cardenas (Rocky DeSantos), and Jason Narvy, among others (Skull). He met Yta Mochizuki (who played Jason’s Super Sentai counterpart Geki) during Power Morphicon 4 in the Summer of 2014, as seen below. He has been a member of the fandom vlog YouTube channel Fanward since 2018.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Star Austin Charged With Fraud
The Department of Justice has named 18 people in a federal indictment in the Eastern District of Texas, charging them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Among the 18 defendants is Mighty Morphin Power Rangers star Austin St. John. St. John, whose real name is Jason Lawrence Geiger, is the show’s original Red Ranger, and while more information on the charges is still pending, a press release from U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston states that the 18 defendants have either been arrested or summoned to appear before a federal magistrate judge. If convicted, the 18 defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.
Geiger is accused of participating in a scheme to defraud lenders and the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, according to the indictment (PPP). Michael Hill is accused of recruiting others to use an existing business or create a new business to submit applications for PPP funding, and the defendants are accused of misrepresenting material information on the applications. The following is an excerpt from the Department of Justice’s official release, as well as a list of defendants.
Michael Lewayne Hill, a/k/a Tank, of Mineral Wells, is 47 years old. Lewisville resident Andrew Charles Moran, 43; Peter Keovongphet, also known as Lil’ Pete, is a 34-year-old Ft. Lauderdale resident. Ty Alan Burkhart, Frisco, 34; Jason Lawrence Geiger, also known as Austin St. John and the Red Power Ranger, is a 47-year-old McKinney resident. Dallas resident Alexander Eric Cortesano, 52. Midlothian resident Elmer Omar Ayala, 45. Gregory Fitzgerald Hatley, Jr., of Allen, is 38 years old. Eric Reed Marasco, also known as Phoenix Marcon, is a 50-year-old Allen resident. Frisco resident Christopher Lee McElfresh, 43. Homosassa, FL native Cord Dean Newman, 44. Eric Reed Marasco, also known as Phoenix Marcon, is a 50-year-old Allen resident. Carrollton resident Arthur Atik Pongtaratik, 33. Richardson resident Miles Justin Urias, 34. Hernandez, Fabian C., 44, of Lake Alfred, Florida. Daniel Lee Warren, 33, unknown address. Rajaa Bensellam, Allen, 49. Allen residents Hadi Mohammed Taffal, 50, and Spence is Jonathon James Spencer, 33, of Rowlett.
“According to the indictment, the defendants, led by Michael Hill and Andrew Moran, are claimed to have executed a scheme to defraud lenders and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Paycheck Protection Program,” the Department of Justice said in a statement (PPP). Hill is accused of enlisting the help of co-conspirators to file PPP funding applications using an existing or new business. Moran is accused of assisting his co-conspirators with application paperwork, including forging supporting documentation and applying through internet portals, after enlisting. The defendants are accused of falsifying material information on the applications, including the genuine nature of their firm, the number of employees, and the amount of payroll.
The SBA and other financial institutions approved and issued loans to the defendants based on these substantial misrepresentations. The defendants did not use the unlawfully obtained monies for the purposes intended, such as paying employee salaries, covering fixed debt or utility payments, or continuing employee health care benefits. Rather, the defendants paid Hill and Moran, moved money to their accounts, and spent the money on different personal goods. In other cases, the defendants sent the unlawfully obtained funds to Jonathon Spencer for alleged foreign exchange market investing. The defendants are accused of obtaining at least 16 loans totaling $3.5 million through deception.
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