“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” star Austin St. John was arrested by the FBI for allegedly running a Paycheck Protection Program scam last week.
St. John, 47, who played the Red Ranger in the 1990’s hit children’s series, was taken into custody at his home by federal authorities on Thursday, along with 17 other individuals who were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The actor, who also starred in 1997’s “Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie,” faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted for the $3.5 million that he and his co-conspirators raked in by filing for 16 bogus PPP loans.
Accused ring leader Michael Hill recruited St. John and others to apply for the Small Business Administration’s COVID relief program with their existing companies, or by creating a new business for the purpose of defrauding the government.
The scam’s other organizer, Andrew Moran, allegedly helped other co-conspirators falsify documentation, lie about their number of employees, and submit applications for the program according to the indictment.
Instead of spending the funds for the program’s intended use of keeping businesses afloat and their employees on payroll, St. John and the other defendants spent the ill-gotten cash on personal purchases.
St. John isn’t the only Red Ranger to find himself in legal trouble, Ricardo Medina, who played the same character in the show’s reboot, “Power Rangers Wild Force,” pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2017.
Medina, 38, admitted to stabbing his roommate Josh Sutter to death with a samurai sword in January 2015, when the pair got into an argument over Medina’s girlfriend at their Los Angeles apartment. He was sentenced to six years in California state prison.