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Pokémon Card Collector Does NOT Catch ‘Em All, Faces 3 Years in Prison After Using COVID Relief Funds on a Rare Charizard

"How could this happen to me? I've made my mistakes. Got nowhere to run."


Back in October 2021, a man from Dublin, GA, named Vinath Oudomsine was charged with wire fraud for using his COVID relief loan on a rare Pokémon card. Oudomsine has pleaded guilty to the charge and has been sentenced to 3 years in federal prison without parole.

Oudomsine failed to be the best (like no one ever was)

Oudomsine had applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration back in July 2020. He claimed that he had a business that operated in, quote, “entertainment services,” with 10 employees working for him and a gross revenue of $235,000 in the year before COVID. On August 4th, the SBA deposited $85,000 into Oudomsine’s bank account, then he proceeded to spend nearly $60,000 on a single Pokémon card (the exact number spent was $57,789).

My favorite part is the official reporting from the state’s attorney’s office specifically writing out “Charizard” in quotes to clarify which Pokémon card was purchased. Something about seeing nerd stuff having to be broken down to explain something as ridiculous as “lying about a small business and spending most on the money on a trading card” just makes me giggle like an immature child. Seriously, THIS is what you spent the money on? Especially since this was a disaster loan, meaning you’d have to pay it back eventually?

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

Not only is Oudomsine going to prison for three years WITHOUT parole, but U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen fined Oudomsine $10,000, ordered him to pay restitution of $85,000, and he’ll have to serve three years of supervised release AFTER completion of his prison term.

What happened to our boy Charizard?

The only question left to answer is what happened to the Pokémon card. Simple. It’s been turned in to the prosecutors. So I guess Oudomsine got to keep it for a little while before he had to turn it over to the authorities?

Was this always Oudomsine’s plan? Or was he swayed by the power of Charizard? Was he going to try and resell the card and never got around to it? I mean I like Charizard, too, but damn.

(Image: Pokémon)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)