The Justice Department named 18 people in the federal indictment, including Mighty Morphin Power Rangers star Austin St. John, for violating the conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the Eastern District of Texas. St. John’s, whose real name is Jason Lawrence Geiger, is the show’s original name, Red Ranger, although we’re still waiting for more details on the allegations, release The 18 defendants were either arrested or summoned to appear before a federal magistrate, U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston said. If convicted, the 18 charged could face up to 20 years in prison.
According to the indictment, Geiger is accused of participating in a scheme to defraud lenders and the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Michael Hill is accused of recruiting others to use an existing business or create a business to submit an application to obtain PPP funds, and in the application, the defendants are accused of misrepresenting material information. You can read an excerpt from the official DOJ release and the list of defendants below.
Michael Lewayne Hill, a/k/a Tank, 47, Mineral Wells;
Andrew Charles Moran, 43, of Louisville;
Peter Keovongphet, a/k/a Lil’ Pete, 34, from ft. Lauderdale, Florida;
Ty Alan Burkhart, 34, of Frisco;
Jason Lawrence Geiger, a/k/a Austin St. John, a/k/a the Red Power Ranger, 47, from McKinney;
Eric Reed Marascio, aka Phoenix Marcon, 50, Allen;
Christopher Lee McElfresh, 43, from Frisco;
Cord Dean Newman of Homosassa, Florida, 44;
Elmer Omar Ayala, 45, from Midlothian;
Gregory Fitzgerald Hatley, Jr., 38, Allen;
Alexander Eric Cortesano, 52, from Dallas;
Arthur Atik Pongtaratik, 33, from Carrollton;
Miles Justin Urias, 34, of Richardson;
Fabian C. Hernandez, 44, of Lake Alfred, Florida;
Daniel Lee Warren, 33, address unknown;
Rajaa Bensellam, 49, of Allen;
Hadi Mohammed Taffal, 50, from Ellen; and
Jonathon James Spencer, aka Spence, 33, Rowlett.
“According to the indictment, defendants led by Michael Hill and Andrew Moran are charged with executing a fraudulent lender and Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Hill allegedly recruited co-conspirators to use existing businesses or create businesses to submit applications for PPP funding. Once enlisted, Moran allegedly assisted his co-conspirators with application paperwork, including falsifying supporting documents and submitting applications , the defendants are accused of misrepresenting material information such as the true nature of their business, the number of employees and the amount of wages.
Based on these material misrepresentations, the SBA and other financial institutions approved and issued loans to the defendants. Once fraudulently obtained funds were received, the defendants did not use the money as intended, such as paying employee wages, paying fixed debts or utility bills, or continuing to provide employees with health care benefits. Instead, the defendants typically paid Hill and Moran, transferred the money into their personal accounts, and then used the funds for various personal purchases. In other cases, defendants sent fraudulently obtained funds to Jonathan Spencer for so-called foreign exchange market investments. In total, the defendants allegedly fraudulently obtained at least 16 loans and at least $3.5 million.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison each. “