The original Red Ranger, Austin St John, and 17 others have been charged with fraud.

Jason Lawrence Geiger – whose stage name is Austin St John – is charged with fraud regarding the misuse of PPP funds. In order to help small businesses, PPP loans are given to assist with covering paychecks and other employee benefits.

Statement from the Department of Justice on Austin St John Charges

“According to the indictment, the defendants, led by Michael Hill and Andrew Moran, are alleged to have executed a scheme to defraud lenders and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 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. [Which includes] fabricating supporting documentation and submitting the application through the online portals. 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.

DOJ Statement Continued

Based on these material misrepresentations, the SBA and other financial institutions approved and issued loans to the defendants. 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. Instead, the defendants typically paid Hill and Moran, transferred money to their personal accounts, and spent the funds on various personal purchases. In other instances, the defendants sent the fraudulently obtained funds to Jonathon Spencer for purported investment in foreign exchange markets. In total, the defendants are alleged to have fraudulently obtained at least 16 [PPP] loans and at least $3.5 million. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 20 years in federal prison

Release from the Department of Justice

Austin St. John has been very active in the past few years in the convention scene doing autographs, and events. He’s even fighting for collectors by overcharging scalpers. As well as cutting deals with companies like Funko to ensure the Power Rangers fan base gets merchandise. Most recently, he made a return to the Power Rangers franchise in Power Ranger Beast Morphers, reprising his role as Jason Lee Scott,

How this will play out with the Ranger Nation is yet to be seen. On top of the fraud charges, worries include the long-term implications to the convention circuit. As well as, how his character is portrayed in any future Power Rangers media.

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