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Georgia Man Spent COVID Relief Loan on Pokemon Card

At least if your family ever criticizes you for spending too much money on Pokémon merchandise, you can point to this guy and say “I’m not as bad as him!”

Gotta love some people’s sense of priorities, am I right? When it comes to collecting in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the rarity of some of these cards is no joke. A 1999 First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard sold for $369,000 in December 2020, making it one of the rarest cards in the world, and Pokémon cards in general already made the news this year with the rise in scalping at places such as Target and Walmart.

Collectors and retailers say that scalpers, nostalgia, and YouTube have contributed to the boom in the cards’ value. It’s an ever thriving industry as people collect, trade, and sell these cards that feature beautiful artwork of our favorite cuddly companions.

But unfortunately, for every passionate fan willing to drop more than a house’s worth of money for a Pikachu Illustrator Card that exists, there’s also another fan willing to misuse relief funds that gives the rest of the collectors out there a bad name. This is the case for Vinath Oudomsine, a man out of Georgia who is accused of misusing COVID-19 relief funds. Authorities claim that he spent $57,789 on a single Pokemon card and was able to do so by making false statements about the gross revenue his business earns and the number of workers he employs when he applied for aid authorized under the CARES Act.

On his July 2020 application, Oudomsine allegedly claimed he had 10 employees and 12-month gross revenues of $235,000. The following month, he was given about $85,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA), which means he spent nearly all of the money on the rare card.

Authorities have given few details about the specific card purchased, though they have said Oudomsine was charged with wire fraud and is expected to appear in court on Thursday. The charge carries a max sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, along with a $250,000 fine.

Oudomsine is far from the first person to face charges for fraud related to small business loans issued amid the pandemic. Others who received relief funds have been accused of spending the money on Lamborghinis, nights at strip clubs, and even an alpaca farm, among other purchases.

Though we have to wonder exactly which Pokémon card it was that Oudomsine bought for such a hefty price. The aforementioned Pikachu Illustrator Card, considered the Holy Grail among Pokémon TCG due to it being possibly the rarest card in circulation, is notable for being sold at prices over $200,000, but in reality it typically goes for about $50,000 on most markets, making it a distinct possibility as the card that our Georgia Man purchased. The Shadowless Holographic Charizard card is also a distinct possibility for similar reasons. While it’s likely we’ll never know the exact identity of this card, we can only hope that Oudomsine pays his dues, since I think we can all agree that no matter how rare the card is, it’s not worth squandering relief funds for.

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