A man in the US used COVID-19 relief funds intended to support small businesses to buy a $57,789 Pokemon card, according to federal prosecutors.
Vinath Oudomsine, from Dublin, Georgia, applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) in July of 2020 saying that he ran a business with 10 employees and a gross annual revenue of $235,000, the Macon Telegraph reported.
He was charged on Tuesday with one count of wire fraud after the government accused him of lying about how many employees he had and the revenue his business generated.
US Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 making it easier to apply for loans.
Oudomsine received a $85,000 loan on August 4 2020, which was intended to go towards operating expenses such as rent and utilities, but ended up spending more than two-thirds of it on the Pokemon card, prosecutors say.
The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines.
Defense attorneys for Oudomsine issued a statement to the owners of the Macon Telegraph declining to comment on the case.
It was not clear in court filing which Pokemon card Oudomsine is accused of purchasing, but certain rare cards are known to fetch thousands of dollars on the second hand market.
A rare ‘Pikachu Illustrator’ card was sold at auction for $195,000, the Independent reported in 2019.
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