Man prosecuted for using COVID-19 relief funds to buy rare Pokémon card

If the card provides relief, is it still a crime? 🤔

Southern District of Georgia, USA’s Department of Justice (DOJ) recently sentenced Vinath Oudomsine, a 31-year-old Dublin, Georgia resident, after he pleaded guilty to using COVID-19 relief funds to purchase a Pokémon card.

“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, in the DOJ’s news release. “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.”

Oudomsine, who claimed he ran a small 10-man business, was awarded an $85,000 (roughly $108,900 CAD) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) back in August 2020, which he was supposed to use to support his business and pay his employees. Instead, he used $57,789 USD (roughly $74,000 CAD) out of the total funds to purchase a rare, first-edition, shadowless, and holographic Charizard Pokémon card, which according to Polygon has a 9.5 gem mint rating.

In its news release, the DOJ doesn’t specify how Oudomsine came to be apprehended, though it does mention that he will have to spend the next 36 months in prison, in addition to paying $10,000 USD (roughly $12,000 CAD) in fine and $85,000 USD (about $109,000 CAD) in restitution.

Oudomsine also agreed to forfeit the Pokémon card as part of the prosecution.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Via: Polygon


  • Karandeep Oberoi

    Karandeep is a graduate of Durham College's Journalism and Mass Media program. He likes video games and testing out peripherals along with quirky gadgets and accessories.