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Man Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison For Using Covid-19 Loan To Buy Rare Pokémon Card

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Man Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison For Using Covid-19 Loan To Buy Rare Pokémon Card

A US man who used a Covid-19 relief loan to buy a Pokémon card has been sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Georgia native Vinath Oudomsine spent US $57,789 on a first edition, shadowless and holographic Charizard card through the PWCC marketplace in December.

The 31-year-old applied through the Small Business Administration (SBA) for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) under the false pretence he had a small business and needed to pay his 10 employees.

The loans were part of a relief package created to aid businesses and their employees amid the pandemic and he asked for US $85,000.

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Credit: Alamy/Julio Etchart
Credit: Alamy/Julio Etchart

Oudomsine pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and admitted he lied to receive the disaster relief loans.

Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, Philip Wislar spoke out about Oudomsine’s charge, stating he exploited the purpose of these loans intended to aid small businesses.

"COVID-19 disaster relief loans are issued by the government to help businesses struggling to survive during a pandemic, not to use for trivial collectible items," Wislar sai.

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"This sentence highlights the FBI’s commitment to aggressively pursue anyone who would abuse taxpayer dollars and divert them from citizens who desperately need them.”

District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen also fined the man $10,000, ordered him to pay restitution of $85,000, and serve 36 months in prison.

However, this is not the first time someone has allegedly lied about eligibility for the Covid-19 disaster relief loans.

US President Joe Biden announced last week that he would be appointing a team to investigate these crimes. 

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Credit: OOgImages/Alamy
Credit: OOgImages/Alamy

Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of Georgia Xavier Cunningham told The New York Times: “I would say a Pokémon card is a quite novel scenario.

“We don’t inherently know what the market is for these cards. We had to hustle to find someone to give us a valuation for it.”

The rare Charizard Pokémon card has since been turned over to an FBI agent in Atlanta and will be auctioned off along with the rest of Oudomsine’s items that were seized as well.

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The money will also be returned to the Small Business Administration.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, US News, Crime

Charisa Bossinakis
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