DUBLIN, GA – According to reports, federal prosecutors charged a Georgia man for allegedly using Covid relief funds obtained in 2020 to purchase a single Pokemon card for over $57,000. The man accused of using these pandemic funds to bolster his card collection now faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 25, 2021
The widely-known slogan for the billion-dollar property Pokemon is “Gotta catch ‘em all,” – but the call to action contained within the slogan may see a Georgia man catching some serious time behind bars.
On October 19th, federal authorities arrested and charged a man identified as Vinath Oudomsine with one count of wire fraud. The allegations are that Oudomsine lied in an application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and used obtained pandemic relief funds to buy a Pokemon card for $57,789.
Back in March of 2020, Congress had passed the CARES Act, which in part expanded the eligibility of businesses being approved for an EIDL. While these EIDL loans were meant to help in either maintaining working capital or to carry standard operating costs amid disasters – they’re not to be confused with Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans, as EIDLs have to be repaid.
That being noted, authorities allege that Oudomsine applied for an EIDL in July of 2020 for a business he claimed had been in operation since 2018 that carried ten employees and earned a gross revenue of $235,000 over the prior 12 months.
Prosecutors say that in August of 2020, the Small Business Administration approved Oudomsine for a loan of $85,000.
Yet five months after being handed the $85,000 by the SBA, prosecutors allege that Oudomsine purchased a single Pokemon card for $57,789 – claiming that Oudomsine used the money from the obtained relief funds to furnish the transaction.
Court records didn’t explicitly detail what exact card Oudomsine allegedly purchased. Still, the secondary market for rare Pokemon cards does have a history of sales where cards have sold for tens of thousands of dollars (with the coveted “Pikachu Illustrator” card having sold for $195,000 back in October of 2019).
If convicted of the single wire fraud count, Oudomsine could face up to 20 years in federal prison as well as up to $25,000 in fines.