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A 31-year-old Georgia man has been sentenced to three years in prison for using COVID-19 relief funds to buy a rare Charizard Pokemon map in 2020.
Vinath Oudomsine of Dublin, Georgia, has been charged with wire fraud, after he allegedly lied to the government last year to get a COVID-19 relief loan to buy the rare card, which state authorities say would cost over $57,000.
The Georgia Southern District Justice Department released a statement saying the man was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison, with no offer of parole, and was fined $10,000, while facing pay back the $85,000 he stole.
The man also agreed to give up the rare Pokémon card as part of his plea deal.
‘Appropriate Congress’ Like moths to the flame, fraudsters like Oudomsine have taken advantage of these schemes to line their pockets – and together with our law enforcement partners, we hold him and others accountable for their greed.
U.S. Attorney David H. Estes
The purpose of the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Loans was for the government to help businesses that were struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Georgia man lied to the government about his business, claiming to provide ‘entertainment services’ with a gross income of $235,000 and 10 employees.
As Oudomsin is released from prison, the final installment of the main series of Pokémon games, Pokemon Scarlet and Purplewill be available, and the first two Gen IX games are due out later this year.