Man Blew $60K in COVID Funds on a Pokemon Card

Vinath Oudomsine was stripped of 'Charizard' on his way to prison
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2022 7:03 AM CST
He Spent $60K in COVID Relief on Pokemon Card
Vinath Oudomsine   (Laurens County Sheriff's Office)

A 31-year-old Georgia man will spend three years in prison after using $57,789 of his $85,000 COVID-19 disaster relief loan to buy a Pokemon card. Vinath Oudomsine, 31, of Dublin applied to the Small Business Administration for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan around July 2020, claiming he operated an "entertainment business" with 10 employees that made $235,000 in gross revenue in the year before the pandemic, per WGXA. He received $85,000 that August. According to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia, Oudomsine then used $57,789 of the funds to buy the rare Pokemon trading card "Charizard."

"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," says Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. Prosecutors said Oudomsine lied about the number of people he employed and his annual revenue, per the Guardian. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in October after agreeing to forfeit the trading card. He was sentenced Monday to three years in prison and ordered to pay $85,000 in restitution, in addition to a $10,000 fine. "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," adds Wislar. (Read more fraud stories.)

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