JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Georgia man wanted to catch em' all, but instead will spend time in prison after he pled guilty to using COVID relief funds to purchase a rare Pokémon card.
Vinath Oudomsine, 31, of Dublin, Ga., was sentenced to 36 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Oudomsine was also fined $10,000, ordered him to pay restitution of $85,000, and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term, according to the release.
Starting around July 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Oudomsine applied to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) ostensibly for an “entertainment services” business in Dublin.
U.S. Attorney’s Office says Oudomsine claimed had 10 employees and gross revenues of $235,000 in the 12 months preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of fraudulent representations on Oudomsine’s application, the SBA deposited $85,000 into Oudomsine’s bank account on Aug. 4, 2020, according to the press release.
Officials say Oudomsine later used $57,789 of the funds to purchase a “Charizard” Pokémon trading card, which he later agreed to forfeit as part of the prosecution.
“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,” said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta.
“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.”
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form by clicking here.