WSB — A Georgia man was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison after admitting he spent more than $57,000 on a rare Pokémon card with a COVID-19 relief loan, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Vinath Oudomsine, 31, of Dublin, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David. H. Estes. Oudomsine was fined $10,000 in addition to repaying the $85,000 loan.
The Justice Department said that Oudomsine claimed to have an “entertainment services” business with 10 employees in an application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan with the Small Business Administration. He received $85,000 from the SBA, of which he spent $57,789 on a rare Charizard card.
The card was also forfeited during the investigation.
I know next to nothing about Pokémon cards, so I'm going into this story a bit blind. Even sports cards going for some of their exorbitant prices have never really made much sense to me. But with the information available, it seems to me this guy made a legitimate investment.
Sure, he fraudulently took COVID-19 relief funds and spent tens of thousands of dollars on a card of a fictional creature named Charizard. That's an objectively terrible thing to do and he's receiving punishment for it. But as ways to fraudulently spend $57,000 go ...
I mean, there are plenty of ways he could have blown that money for it to never be seen again. Instead, he put it into what seems to be a worthwhile investment opportunity. In terms of ways to defraud the government and steal from small businesses needing help, this is arguably a responsible way to do it.
Tough one to have to explain in the big house, though. As I understand it from the plethora of prison shows I've watched, the inmates make you show them your papers upon arrival to make sure you haven't done something they need to fuck you up for. So I imagine Vinath will receive some razzing from the fellas for the next three years as the Pokémon guy. That's a label you're not going to shed.