A Georgia man has been sentenced to three years in prison after spending money he received from a coronavirus business relief loan on a rare Pokémon card.
As reported by NBC News, 31-year-old Vinath Oudomsine of Dublin, Georgia, successfully exploited the Small Business Administration by applying for a disaster relief loan for a business that didn't even exist.
The loans had been put in place to assist small businesses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, last year, Oudomsine submitted false information to the US Small Business Administration in order to receive the funds.
State prosecutors revealed that Oudomsine had claimed he had a business of 10 employees, that had generated $235,000 in gross revenue in the year prior to the global pandemic. He added that his business was an "entertainment service", and successfully received $85,000 from the loan program.
Oudomsine then used $57,789 from the fund to purchase a Charizard Pokémon trading card.
(I won't lie, I am a little jealous, as the elusive card never made it into my own personal collection as a kid.)[[imagecaption|| File Photo. Credit: ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy]]
In a statement, acting US Attorney David Estes of the Southern District of Georgia said that Oudomsine pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud back in October.
As well as the three years in prison, District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen also fined Oudomsine $10,000, ordered him to pay restitution of $85,000, and to serve three years of supervised release following his eventual release.
He also agreed to forfeit the Charizard card as part of his plea agreement (ouch).
The story soon became a topic of discussion for Twitter users, with one person writing: "He tried to catch them all but in the end he was the one who got caught."
"I know pokemon cards are rare af in certain cases but good lord why would you waste relief money to buy a 3 by 4 of cardboard," added another.
Charizard cards have long been a highly collectable item among Pokémon fans - however, their legendary status had led to their price tags sky rocketing
For example, on Thursday, A Charizard card sold at a Heritage Auctions for $336,000, per CNN.