Man jailed for spending COVID-19 disaster loan on Pokémon card

Photo by Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

A 31-year-old man Georgian man has been sentenced to three years in prison for using COVID-19 relief funds to buy a rare Charizard Pokémon card in 2020.

Vinath Oudomsine from Dublin, Georgia was charged with wire fraud, after allegedly lying to the government last year to obtain a COVID-19 relief loan to purchase the rare card, which, according to state authorities, was reported to cost more than $57,000.

The Southern District of Georgia’s Department of Justice released a statement saying that the man has been sentenced to 36 months in federal prison, with no offer of parole, and was fined $10,000, while also having to pay back the $85,000 from which he stole.

The man also agreed to forfeit the rare Pokémon card as part of his plea deal.

“Congress appropria“Like moths to the flame, fraudsters like Oudomsine took advantage of these programs to line their own pockets – and with our law enforcement partners, we are holding him and others accountable for their greed.”

U.S. Attorney David H. Estes

The purpose of the COVID-19 disaster relief loans was for the government to help businesses that were struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Georgian man lied about his business to the government, claiming to provide ‘entertainment services’ with gross revenue of $235,000 and with 10 employees.

By the time Oudomsine is freed from prison, the newest installment in the main series Pokémon games, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, will be available, with the first two games of Generation IX set for release later this year.