A former ‘Energy Rangers’ actor is charged with serving to thieve…

The actor who led a workforce of youth superheroes on “Mighty Morphin Energy Rangers” has been accused of serving to thieve thousands and thousands of greenbacks from the federal government’s Paycheck Coverage Program pandemic reduction fund.

Jason Lawrence Geiger, 47, who performed the Purple Ranger underneath the level identify Austin St. John, and 17 others have been charged with fraud this week in a Texas federal court docket over what prosecutors described as a conspiracy to illicitly download $3.5 million in P.P.P. loans.

Mr. Geiger and the others he’s stated to have labored in coordination with used a mixture of authentic and sham companies to acquire loans from the relaxation program, prosecutors stated. In step with court filings, they fabricated paperwork and made false claims about gross sales and payroll to acquire inflated loans, then spent the money on jewellery, treasured metals and automobiles.

Mr. Geiger gained a mortgage of $225,754 in June 2020 for his corporate St. John Enterprises, which sells Energy Rangers memorabilia, corresponding to $60 autographed pictures and $100 customized video messages. As a substitute of the usage of the cash to pay employees — the relaxation program’s meant objective — Mr. Geiger funneled lots of the cash to 2 of his co-defendants, prosecutors stated in court docket filings.

Mr. Geiger used to be arraigned Wednesday on a unmarried price, conspiracy to devote cord fraud. The price carries a penalty of as much as twenty years in jail.

“Mr. Geiger intends to vigorously protect himself in contrast allegation,” David Klaudt, Mr. Geiger’s attorney, stated in a written remark.

A statement posted on Friday on Mr. Geiger’s Fb web page by way of Zachery McGinnis of Galactic Productions, an match reserving carrier for actors, forged Mr. Geiger as a sufferer of his industry companions.

“The indictment detailed lately is populated by way of a mess of people — nearly all of which Austin has no wisdom of, and hasn’t ever met or interacted with,” Mr. McGinnis wrote. “It’s our figuring out that Austin put his religion, recognition, and funds within the fingers of 3rd events whose targets have been self-centered and in the end manipulated and betrayed his believe.”

Mr. Geiger fought intergalactic evil at the unique “Energy Rangers” sequence that debuted in 1993 and performed the Gold Ranger on a later iteration, “Energy Rangers Zeo.” He spent 16 years as a paramedic prior to retiring in 2014, in step with a biography posted on St. John Enterprises’ site.

The hurriedly created Paycheck Coverage Program intentionally did away with lots of the assessments and safeguards that most often accompany industry loans — growing a chance for some strangely brazen thievery. The Justice Division has charged masses of folks with fraudulently taking billions of greenbacks from it and different pandemic reduction methods.

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