Red Power Ranger Actor Charged In Massive COVID Fraud Scheme Indictment


Photo: Getty Images

Austin St. John, the actor who played the Red Power Ranger in the hit '90s TV show, has been arrested for wire fraud conspiracy.

St. John, whose legal name is Jason Lawrence Geiger, had his McKinney, Texas, home raided by federal agents in tactical gear early Thursday (May 19) morning, according to TMZ. St. John's arrest was part of a massive federal indictment involving 18 people who have been charged with fraud. The Red Power Ranger was allegedly part of a scheme that accuses the defendants of defrauding the Small Business Association's Paycheck Protection Program, a COVID-19 relief loan program, according to the Department of Justice.

The defendants have allegedly fraudulently obtained at least 16 loans, totaling $3.5 million. The ringleaders in the elaborate COVID-19 fraud scheme were Michael Hill and Andrew Moran, according to the Department of Justice's indictment. They corralled 16 others to apply for these PPP loans with fake documents to use the money for personal purchases.

If convicted, those named in the indictment could each face up to 20 years in federal prison.

Here's a look at the 18 defendants that have been named in the indictment:

  • Michael Lewayne Hill, a/k/a Tank, 47, of Mineral Wells;
  • Andrew Charles Moran, 43, of Lewisville;
  • Peter Keovongphet, a/k/a Lil’ Pete, 34, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL;
  • Ty Alan Burkhart, 34, of Frisco;
  • Jason Lawrence Geiger, a/k/a Austin St. John a/k/a the Red Power Ranger, 47, of McKinney;
  • Eric Reed Marascio, a/k/a Phoenix Marcon, 50, of Allen;
  • Christopher Lee McElfresh, 43, of Frisco;
  • Cord Dean Newman, 44, of Homosassa, FL;
  • Elmer Omar Ayala, 45, of Midlothian;
  • Gregory Fitzgerald Hatley, Jr., 38, of Allen;
  • Alexander Eric Cortesano, 52, of Dallas;
  • Arthur Atik Pongtaratik, 33, of Carrollton;
  • Miles Justin Urias, 34, of Richardson;
  • Fabian C. Hernandez, 44, of Lake Alfred, FL;
  • Daniel Lee Warren, 33, address unknown;
  • Rajaa Bensellam, 49, of Allen;
  • Hadi Mohammed Taffal, 50, of Allen; and
  • Jonathon James Spencer, a/k/a Spence, 33, of Rowlett

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