Former Red Ranger Austin St. John made headlines last year, but not for a heroic act associated with his “Mighty Morphin” character. In 2022, the federal government arrested the actor for participating in a referral fraud scheme related to COVID-19 relief loans. The United States Attorney’s Office released a statement revealing the names of 19 people who attempted to use the Small Business Administration’s COVID relief policy for personal gain, including Austin St. John.
The group is said to have conspired to take advantage of the CARES Act, which the US government passed to ease the financial strain caused by the pandemic across the country. The program created numerous fake small businesses to submit applications to the Paycheck Protection Program, which the government used to send money to small businesses to help them keep paying their employees. The group hoped to use the program’s funding to put “free” money in their pockets.
Both the FBI and the IRS are investigating the case. St. John could face 20 years in prison if convicted (via NPR). The actor confirmed his involvement in the case via a live stream, but said he couldn’t legally comment further. St. John’s parole restrictions prevent him from traveling outside of his home state of Texas, except for previous commitments to conventions. So don’t expect the former Red Ranger to appear in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always.