Georgia man who spent $50K on Pokémon card with COVID funds sentenced to prison



A Middle Georgia man who spent more than $50,000 on a rare Pokémon trading card after acquiring a coronavirus relief loan will be spending three years in federal prison, officials said.

Vinath Oudomsine, 31, of Dublin, pleaded guilty to wire fraud after he received $85,000 while applying for a loan intended for small businesses impacted by the pandemic, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia announced Monday. Authorities said he requested the loan for an entertainment services business in Dublin that claimed to have 10 employees and gross revenues of $235,000 in the year preceding the pandemic.

In August 2020, Oudomsine received the loan and later used $57,789 to buy a Charizard card, the office said. He agreed to forfeit the Pokémon card as part of the prosecution.

“Congress appropriated funding to assist small businesses struggling through the challenges of a global pandemic,” U.S. Attorney David Estes said. “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.”

Oudomsine was also fined $10,000, ordered to pay restitution of $85,000 and serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term, the office said. There is no parole in the federal system.

“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,” Philip Wislar, acting special agent of FBI Atlanta, said. “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.”