Power Rangers Actor Austin St. John Charged in COVID Fraud Case

Power Rangers star Austin St. John was allegedly one of 18 people involved in a COVID relief fraud scheme to obtain $3.5 million in small business loans.

By Tamantha Gunn May 20, 2022 7:49 PMTags
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A former hero has allegedly broken the law.

According to the Department of Justice, 47-year-old Austin St. John, the actor who famously played the red Power Ranger in the hit ‘90s show, has been charged for allegedly taking part in a fraud scheme that raked in $3.5 million originally meant for small businesses that struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. John—whose legal name is Jason Lawrence Geiger—was one of 18 individuals who were indicted by a federal grand jury May 12, per the DOJ press release.

The actor and the others charged are alleged to have used faulty information when they applied for and received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which were offered to help small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. 

"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," the press release read. "Based on these material misrepresentations, the [Small Business Administration] and other financial institutions approved and issued loans to the defendants."

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Once the funds were distributed to St. John and the other defendants, the DOJ says they were not used properly. Instead, the Department of Justice said the defendants "transferred money to their personal accounts, and spent the funds on various personal purchases."

David Klaudt, St. John's attorney, told NBC News in a statement that his client has pleaded not guilty to the charge. "An indictment is not evidence of guilty," he said. "All defendants are presumed innocent and Mr. St. John intends to vigorously defend himself against this allegation."

If convicted, St. John and the other defendants could each face up to 20 years in federal prison.

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The Power Rangers Zeo actor was supposed to attend the Des Moines Con event this weekend in Iowa, however, the convention released a statement May 19 saying that he would no longer be present due to "unforeseen personal obligations." 

"He sends his apologies and love to all those that were looking forward to meeting him," the statement read. "Austin plans to be here to meet all of his fans in 2023."

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