Federal prosecutors have said that a Georgia man used a COVID-19 relief loan to purchase a Pokemon card worth more than $57,000.
Authorities arrested and charged Vinath Oudomsine of Dublin, Georgia on Tuesday on one count of wire fraud. Court records show that Oudomsine is being charged with lying on an application for a pandemic economic relief loan about the number of people his business employed and the company’s gross revenue. Oudomsine received $85,000 in August 2020, using the money to buy the Pokemon card for $57,789. The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines, though the actual sentence is usually far less. Oudomsine could not be reached for comment on Friday. Defense attorneys representing him declined to comment.
Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, in March 2020. This bill expanded the eligibility and waived certain requirements for businesses applying to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The funds were meant to be used as working capital or for normal operating expenses, such as rent and utilities. But unlike Paycheck Protection Plan loans, EIDLs are not eligible for loan forgiveness.
In August, a Georgia woman pleaded guilty to stealing over $6 million in fraudulent COVID-19 relief loans, and in July, a man in Texas was sentenced to over 11 years in prison after he made false claims in an attempt to fraudulently obtain $24.8 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.
Rare Pokémon cards can sell for thousands of dollars. Collectors have been bidding up prices for trading cards as these items have been gaining traction as of last year. The 2002 Pokemon World Championships No. 1 Trainer card was sold in April for $31,200 and a 1999 Pokemon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind sold for $65,100 in October 2020. Extremely rare cards such as the Pikachu Illustrator have sold for as much as $195,000.