Update [Fri March 11th, 11:30 GMT]: The individual in question has now been named as Vinath Oudomsine from Georgia. Following his arrest, he has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for using Covid-19 relief money to purchase a rare Charizard card for $57,789, wiping out more than half of the $85,000 awarded to him.
The card in question was a first-edition Charizard card from 1999 and was graded a 9.5 from professional grading company Beckett. Mr. Oudomsine has agreed to turn the card over to prosecutors and will be required to pay the $85,000 in restitution alongside an additional $10,000. He will be subject to three years' supervision following his eventual release from prison.
We've seen plenty of reports and evidence over the last few years to show us that the market of rare Pokémon cards has been getting increasingly volatile, with the collectibles becoming - in some cases - highly valued and speculative investments. Now there's a rather extraordinary report of a small business owner allegedly defrauding a coronavirus relief fund in order to invest in a card.
This has emerged due to a filing online of a federal prosecution, which states that the individual in Georgia (USA) applied for small business aid through the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) in July 2020. It is claimed that the individual made 'false statements about the number of individuals his company employed and his company's gross revenue' in order to claim from the fund - they received $85,000.
The rather extraordinary part of the document states that the individual 'used the funds obtained from SBA by means of false and fraudulent representation to purchase a Pokémon card for $57,789'. As we know some of the rare cards do sell for significant sums of money in that ball park.
A reminder that these are, undoubtedly, strange times.
[source npr.org, via documentcloud.org, polygon.com]
This is just funny to me lol
Yeah not the whole lot. This story changes every time I see it.
“A” as in A singular card…?
Its easy to point the finger and place blame on how he 'wasted' the covid relief funds, but none of us have walked in his shoes. For all we know this card did provide him some relief from Covid.
Of all the things he could have invested in with that money…. He chose a Pokémon card…. Not the smartest fruit of the tree
He just needs to give them a shiny charizard to pay them back like come on man
Peoples get obsessed by those freaking Pokemon cards with that ridiculous expensive price ?!
Such a wasting of money and useless purchase. 🙄
Also, using money from COVID relief fund to buy a single Pokemon card with insane expensive price, it just something disgusting and extremely wrong.
What was he thinking? He'll be ok I'm sure. Criminal records only really affect employees. Not like he's going to fire himself.
Watch someone at Nintendo defend this lmao
Ok but why? This just seems like a really idiotic thing to do
Not punishment enough..
The judge should take the card, and rip it up, right in front of his face.
Crappy thing is these outliers are pushed by media companies like they’re the norm until programs like this that help people are limited or eliminated. Just like the welfare queen myth of the 80’s that folks still believe.
Well was it a first edition Japanese import? Details! Details!
@Jayenkai that would be a pretty salty judge,
Ugh scammers gonna scam. Hope he has to pay it back with interest. And if he actually has employees that they get that money as intended. People have no decency or shame.
🤣🤣🤣 Get your money for nothin' and your Pokemon cards for free...
The real crime here is that the government thought $85k could float a business for more than like a week....
As for the Pokemon card, I bet he could take it to court as a business investment and win. There's more than enough statutory evidence showing appreciable value, and it could be easily argued as as sound as bonds.
What was the card? Maybe I have a copy.
Removed - unconstructive
@Mario500 I’ve noticed you tend to post single word questions and direct quotes from other comments/the articles.
Please try to post when you have something to add to the discussion.
I’d also suggest ignoring the word COVID if you don’t find it agreeable. Bringing it up every time like it’s a foreign concept is not exactly productive.
I suppose he considered it an investment with the expectation that he could later sell the card for a profit, but the question is, would that have been a legitimate use of the funds if had filed the application with truthful information?
@Desrever The issue here is that he lied about what he was going to use the money for, he said it was to help his business but instead he spent it on a Pokemon card. Had he spent his own money on the card no one would care, but this money came from his fellow citizens.
@Jayenkai It's a collectors item, they would get a lot of backlash.
Surely in America there is a constitutional right that people can spend their money however they damn well please. Now if he lied about his number of employees then that's a separate matter; if that wasn't the case then I'd think he'd be free to waste the bailout and go under. Or flip the card Heritage Auctions style and make sweet profit.
I just want to know which card lol
And yet most Americans are more upset about poor people receiving a pittance so they stay alive.
Well the US does throw away an absurd amount on it's military budget, at least this won't (hopefully) get abandoned in Afghanistan, this is a less silly use of tax dollars than most tax dollar spending's to me.
@Longondo Just for the record, I was indeed making a dumb joke. Poorly, I might add.
@N64-ROX "Surely in America there is a constitutional right that people can spend their money however they damn well please."
I suppose that could be derived from what freedoms are explicitly protected, but in this case, he apparently acquired the money through fraudulent means and used it for purposes other than what he agreed to.
That’s just moronic. What the hell was he or she thinking?? I got Coronavirus aid too for the business and watch every nickel I spend it on to make sure it’s eligible.
@Eel Yes, a single card. Pretty wild. What I found most amusing in the NPR article was that it says the report did not specify WHICH Pokemon card it was.
Drop this schmuck into the marianas trench.
@liljmoore buy card, wait for price to go up, sell, profit. I'm gonna guess that was his original plan.
This reminds me of the idiot who got a severe fine for playing Pokémon Go on 8 Phones whilst driving. He carved rectangles from a slab of plastic for the phones to sit in.
IMHO a severe fine was too lenient given the seriousness of the driving offence. This guy deserves what's coming to him, this is an appalling act and isn't funny in any way shape or form. I caught COVID twice and the first time I could hardly breathe with it, second time I wasn't as bad because I was Vaccinated.
Why do people find this funny? it's not funny AT ALL :/
@FixMadden22 Just curious but why do you find this funny? it's likely this idiot has cost lives with this act but yup you lot laugh at it.
@Desrever I don't think the judgment here is what he invested in — a Pokemon card — it's that he defrauded the United States government.
"It is claimed that the individual made 'false statements about the number of individuals his company employed and his company's gross revenue'"
If a company wants to invest in Pokemon cards, that's fine, but the CARES Act has stipulations and requirements for how that money is allocated.
What's worse is while we're laughing at this guy getting nailed, there are corporations all over the country that were able to misappropriate funds from "COVID relief". I know of one personally — a national chain — that was able to levy COVID relief into executive bonuses (including funds going to overseas executives) and liquidate the business down anyway.
@RubyCarbuncle He didn't cost any lives besides his own. It's not even clear if he had employees, let alone a legit company. He's just a low-level scam artist, and this is just the kind of rinky-dink prosecution to make it seem like the authorities are doing something while we are all still dumbstruck having witnessed the largest upward transfer of wealth in human history.
@Spiders Well either way if the money really was meant for COVID 19 relief operations this isn't funny and it annoys me that people here find this funny.
@RubyCarbuncle I agree.
@Jayenkai The rest of us don't deserve that punishment.
My point of view : if it was to sell and make a profit where is fraud? The Covid money was suppose to buy what ? A new machine in a restaurant ? Make some repair ? Eat ?
#1 - The CARES relief stuff for businesses had to be spent on specific things (payroll for employees, largely), so yeah this is fraud.
#2 - It is kind of funny and kind of sad that all the individuals getting COVID relief had no such restrictions and basically everybody I know spent their money on vacations, or put it in kids' college savings funds, or splurged on fun stuff for themselves because they weren't in any way actually needing of any relief.
#3 - Or if, like me, you're self-employed, you probably just had to leave it in the bank to pay taxes at the end of the year because you knew the government was paying you too much money and you couldn't do anything about it.
The government giving out too much money is why there's an inflation - and the market is going to crash soon.
The prosecutors just want the Charizard card smh
This should be funny, but it's sick. Mega glad they sent this dude to prison
Wasn't there a Chapelle's Show skit about this?
@FixMadden22 what isn't funny is how often the US government was defrauded on stuff like this on people who didn't actually need the money - while the people who truly needed it were given no assistance. But the tax payer is still on the hook for Charizard cards, etc.
The entire operation was a scam.
@FantasiaWHT I know a family that received a million or so and invited about 20 people on a huge, expensive lake vacation. "It has been a VERY good year for us because of covid relief funds" was their exact quote. Emphasis on very. They were wealthy before the pandemic.
@sailornic Bills and wages.
The point was that they kept the business afloat during a time of no income so that they could continue trading afterwards, instead of going bust and there being no jobs or businesses.
Buying a Pokemon card, or highly speculative investments doesn't count. If you have room to spend half your relief money on those, then you didn't need the money.
@sailornic Payroll, keeping the doors open. It was not for making speculative purchases of small, colored cardboard. You see the issue with that right?
@Desrever Oh please.
@GrailUK will his business do well while he spends 3 years in the clink? No, it won't. I live close by to this story. He is done.
The Marianas Trench was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to return soup in a deli.
It’s funny how some people get prison time for misusing “relief” money and the president of the United States son get half a million for his art gallery. It pays to know corrupt people in high places.
Dude knows his priorities. Props
@Trickbaby14 some things never change.
Prison seems unnecessary but can I just say what a damn idiot?
Why commit fraud when it’s not even PSA/Becket 10?!
That’s a rhetorical question.
I used my covid relief money on a new washer and dryer, am I on their naughty list too?
Absolute clown shoes. Did this guy think he was gonna get away with this?
@Jayenkai This comment just reminds me of Kaiba ripping up the Blue Eyes White Dragon card in front of Yugi’s grandpa 🤣.
He couldn't help it. Gotta catch em all!
Removed - spam; user is banned
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