A Georgia man has been sentenced to prison after he was caught using illegally obtained COVID-19 relief money to buy a US$57,000 Pokémon trading card.
Vinath Oudomsine of Dublin, Georgia, pleaded guilty in October to a unique electronic fraud count after being accused of submitting false information to the US Small Business Administration last year when he applied for a coronavirus relief loan for an “entertainment services” business he claimed to own.
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He received $85,000 from the loan program, prosecutors said, and used it to buy a Pokémon “Charizard” trading card for $57,789.
The 31-year-old claimed his non-existent business had 10 employees and made around $235,000 a year, a press release from the US Department of Justice.
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“COVID-19 Disaster Relief Loans are issued by the government to help businesses struggling to survive during a pandemic, not for trivial collectibles,” said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge. from the FBI Atlanta, in a statement.
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“This sentence underscores the FBI’s commitment to aggressively pursue anyone who abuses taxpayers’ money and diverts it from citizens who desperately need it.”
The Pokémon enthusiast was sentenced to three years in prison.
He was also ordered to surrender the “Charizard” card, fined $10,000 and pay $85,000 in restitution.
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