Man who spent $58,000 in COVID relief on Pokémon Charizard card is sent to prison

A Georgia man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison after admitting he lied to obtain a COVID-19 disaster relief loan, then used a large portion of the money to buy a Pokémon card.

Vinath Oudomsine, 31, of Dublin, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen also ordered a fine of $10,000, restitution of $85,000 and three years of supervised release after prison.

Oudomsine will also forfeit the Pokémon “Charizard” card.

According to court documents and testimony, Oudomsine applied to the Small Business Administration for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan in July 2020, falsely claiming that he ran an “entertainment services” business with 10 employees. He received $85,000 — of which he used $57,789 to purchase the Pokémon card.

“Congress appropriated funding to assist small businesses struggling through the challenges of a global pandemic,” said David H. Estes, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, in a press release issued Monday by the Department of Justice. “Like moths to the flame, fraudsters like Oudomsine took advantage of these programs to line their own pockets.”

Charizard’s description in the Pokemon online index. 

The card depicting the dragon-like fan favorite is one of the most sought-after in the Pokémon collection.

At a Dallas auction last week, a 1999 Charizard from the game’s first English print run sold for $336,000, far surpassing its estimate of $200,000.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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