A Georgia man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison after admitting to lying in order to obtain a COVID-19 disaster relief loan. The man, Vinath Oudomsine, used a large part of his $85,000 COVID relief loan to buy a rare Charizard Pokémon card for nearly $58,000. Oudomsine claimed to be running an entertainment business with 10 employees and revenue of $235,000 in order to receive the loan. That fraudulently entitled him to the $85,000 loan from the Small Business Administration.
On August 4, 2020, Oudomsine received the loan and then used $57,789 to purchase the Charizard card. The Department of Justice hasn’t disclosed which Charizard card Oudomsine bought. However, the most valuable Charizard card is the original 1st edition card from the 90s. That card can be valued in the 10s of thousands depending on the condition. For nearly $58,000 he better have bought a pristine condition one.
Not that it really matters to him now. As part of the prosecution, Oudomsine was forced to hand over the Charizard card to the government. It’s unclear if the government will be adding the rare card to its collection to appreciate in value or if the government will be selling it on right away. Along with forfeiting the card, Oudomsine will spend the next three years in prison, he has been fined $10,000 and has been ordered to repay the full $85,000. He will also have to serve three years of supervised release after completing his term in prison. That’s quite the punishment for a Pokémon card.
Pokémon cards, particularly from the original generation, have skyrocketed in price in recent years. Even unopened packs of original sets can sell for thousands of dollars each. Boxes of original booster packs have sold for upwards of $10,000 on ebay in recent months.