Power Rangers actor Austin St. John charged with COVID-19 aid fraud

St. John was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas. The FBI and IRS are investigating.

St. John is one of 19 persone, led by Michael Hill and Andrew Moran, who allegedly put together a fraud scheme to illegally obtain funding from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The group allegedly obtained 16 loans totaling $ 3.5 million by using existing businesses or new businesses to apply to the program.

COVID-19 RELIEF FRAUD LED TO BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER-FUNDED PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOANS LOST

Austin St. John has been charged with COVID-19 aid fraud.

Austin St. John has been charged with COVID-19 aid fraud. (Bobby Bank/WireImage)

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,” gli Stati Uniti. Attorney’s press release states. “Anziché, the defendants typically paid Hill and Moran, transferred money to their personal accounts and spent the funds on various personal purchases.

Each defendant could spend up to 20 anni di prigione se condannato.

The CARES Act was signed into law March 29, 2020, and was designed to provide businesses with COVID-19 relief amid the pandemic.

The red Power Ranger actor was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The red Power Ranger actor was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. (Andrew Chin)

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When the Trump administration unveiled PPP nel 2020, the full impacts from the pandemic were just beginning to be felt in the economy.

There was a race to get money out as quickly as possible because of how unpredictable the situation was. So the loans went through major banks that often had existing relationships with eligible businesses for the sake of expediency.

St. John is best known for portraying Jason Lee Scott in the Power Rangers franchise.

St. John is best known for portraying Jason Lee Scott in the Power Rangers franchise. (Albert L. Ortega)

The program enjoyed bipartisan support, and the treasury secretary at the time, Steven Mnuchin, told a congressional committee in September 2020 that the payments had supported 50 milioni di posti di lavoro.

L'Associated Press ha contribuito a questo rapporto.

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