Georgia Man Used COVID Relief Loan on $57,000 Pokemon Card: Prosecutors

A man has been charged with wire fraud after prosecutors said he lied about how much revenue his business generated and how many people he employed in an application for a COVID-19 relief loan.

According to prosecutors, the man, Vinath Oudomsine, of Dublin, Georgia, also used part of the loan to purchase a $57,789 Pokemon card, the Macon Telegraph reported on Friday.

Prosecutors said that Oudomsine submitted an application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan in July 2020, and later received an $85,000 loan from the Small Business Administration, according to the newspaper. They alleged that he spent a portion of the funds to buy the card.

The charge was filed by federal prosecutors in the U.S. Southern District of Georgia on Tuesday.

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Southern District of Georgia for more information about the case but did not hear back before publication Saturday afternoon.

The price of Pokemon cards has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some cards now sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Marketplace reported the most expensive sale of a single card occurred in July 2020, when a "Pikachu Illustrator" card was purchased for $233,000.

The case of alleged wire fraud in Georgia comes as U.S. prosecutors have brought several cases against people who they said obtained COVID-19 relief funds illegally.

In August, a Georgia woman pleaded guilty to stealing over $6 million in fraudulent COVID-19 relief loans.

Man Used Loan on Pokemon Card
Prosecutors say a man in Georgia used part of a COVID-19 relief loan to purchase a $57,789 Pokemon card. Above, Austin "Chumlee" Russell (R) from History's "Pawn Stars" television series plays in a Pokemon tournament in the My 4 Sons booth during Unicon 2021 at the World Market Center on October 01, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Getty Images/Gabe Ginsberg

In July, a man in Texas was sentenced to over 11 years in prison after he made false claims in an attempt to fraudulently obtain $24.8 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

"Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program to help struggling businesses stay afloat, not to fund faux entrepreneurs' luxury lifestyles," acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said in a statement at the time.

In September, a California man pleaded guilty to charges that accused him of scamming $9 million from COVID-19 relief programs. Federal prosecutors said that he used the funds to make "risky stock market bets" and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on gambling at a casino in Las Vegas.

The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, provided funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs (EIDL) to help aid businesses affected during the pandemic.

ABC News reported in August that Hannibal "Mike" Ware, the inspector general of the Small Business Administration, said he believes "the amount of fraud in these COVID relief programs is going to be larger than any government program that came before it."