Austin St John of the 1990s hit TV series Might Morphin Power Rangers was arrested at his luxury home in Texas this week.
According to TMZ, the 47-year-old actor – who played Red Ranger Jason Lee Scott on the show – was handcuffed and arrested after federal agents showed up at his home in the upscale neighborhood of McKinney holding AR-15 guns.
It was added that the agents ‘raided’ his residence.
St John was allegedly charged with wire fraud in a very large federal criminal case about COVID relief loans for small businesses, it was claimed, with the actor being accused of scamming the government out of $3.5 million.
If convicted he could go to prison for a maximum of 20 years.
He was arrested along with 17 other people in what was a very large and organized scam.
No peace now: Austin St John of the 1990s hit TV series Power Rangers was reportedly arrested at his home in Texas this week. Seen in 2015 at Comic Con in Pennsylvania
U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston and the Department of Justice announced the arrests of St John and 17 other people for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a press release.
St John – whose birth name is Jason Lawrence Geige – has allegedly been arrested over abusing COVID relief small business loans.
According to the site, the indictment alleges St John was part of a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
The program was built to aid small businesses affected by COVID.
The actor allegedly obtained a total of 16 loans which came to the amount of $3.5 million.
But he was not the ringleader.
Michael Hill is alleged to have brought in St John and several others to either use an existing business or to create a business in order to submit applications to obtain funding from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
Another defendant, Andrew Moran, is alleged ‘to have helped his co-conspirators with fabricating supporting documentation and submitting the application through the government’s online portals,’ according to Entertainment Weekly.
But the money did not go into the businesses.
‘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,’ Featherston said.
‘Instead, the defendants typically paid Hill and Moran, transferred money to their personal accounts, and spent the funds on various personal purchases.’
In his suit: The actor began his Hollywood career in 1993 when he was cast as Jason Lee Scott in the hit TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Seen in 1995
TMZ claimed to have spoken to one of St John’s neighbors who told the site that it was a very big scene outside his home.
It was claimed that about 15 FBI agents in ‘tactical gear’ arrived at the home on Thursday morning at 7am.
The agents were not in police sedans but rather in Tahoe Suburbans.
The neighbor said that it looked as if the men were holding AR-15 guns – a very accurate and modern sporting rifle – as they arrived at his front door.
It was added that they then ‘entered the home.’ When they exited the premises, the neighborhood claimed that they saw St John in handcuffs.
Not easy: According to TMZ, the actor was taken in after federal agents showed up at his home in an upscale neighborhood in McKinney holding AR-15 guns and ‘raided’ his residence. Seen in 2017 in Vancouver
Charged: St John was allegedly charged with fraud in a very large federal criminal case, it was claimed. Seen in 2017 in Vancouver
The 6ft actor began his Hollywood career in 1993 when he was cast as Jason Lee Scott in the hit TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
He left the show in its second season over pay but returned for guest appearances. The show was on the air from 1993 until 1996.
He also starred in the 1997 movie Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie and in 2017, he made a cameo in the movie Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel.
In 2018, he appeared in the TV movie Monsters At Large as well as the movie A Walk With Grace.
In the subsequent years, the star would show up for fan events like Comic Con as he met with followers and signed autographs.