The actor who played Red Power Ranger in the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” movies and TV series has been charged with wire fraud conspiracy related to the federal Paycheck Protection Program, officials said.
Jason Lawrence Geiger, 47, of McKinney, Texas, is one of 19 defendants named in a federal indictment, the FBI said. Acting as Austin St. John, Geiger played Jason Lee Scott, the Red Power Ranger.
Geiger was arrested Tuesday and remained in jail pending a detention hearing Monday before a federal magistrate in the Dallas suburb of Plano, court documents show. He has pleaded not guilty to the sole charge against him and “intends to vigorously defend himself against this allegation,” said his attorney, David Klaudt of Dallas.
The Payroll Protection Program was part of the CARES Act designed to provide emergency financial relief to millions of Americans who were suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement released Thursday, federal prosecutors said the 19 defendants made fraudulent claims for Payroll Protection benefits during the pandemic lockdown and used the proceeds for personal purchases and expenses. In total, the defendants were accused of obtaining at least 16 loans worth at least $3.5 million.
If convicted, each could face up to 20 years in federal prison.