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Man who used Covid relief funds to buy rare Pokémon card sent to prison


A man has been sentenced to prison after admitting he lied to obtain a Covid-19 disaster relief loan, and then went on to use that money to purchase a rare Charizard Pokémon card.

Vinath Oudomsine from the US state of Georgia was awarded a Covid relief loan after he claimed to run a small business comprising of 10 employees. However, after obtaining the cash (a tidy $85k), Oudomsine "used $57,789 of it to buy a first-edition, shadowless and holographic Charizard card with a 9.5 gem mint rating", (thanks, Polygon).

Having pleaded guilty to one account of Wire Fraud, Oudomsine will now spend 36 months in federal prison, with no parole.

Cover image for YouTube video

In addition to this, Oudomsine has been fined $10k and ordered to pay restitution of $85k. Following the conclusion of his prison term, Oudomsine will then have to serve three years of supervised release.

"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," said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta.

"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."

So, where is the Charizard card now? Well, clearly Oudomsine wasn't going to get to keep it. Instead, it has been handed over to his prosecutors.

Elsewhere in the world of Pokémon cards, a rare Pikachu Illustrator card was recently purchased for an eye-watering $900k, making it the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold.

That 'Gotta catch 'em all' life can certainly be pricy!