Man who used COVID relief funds to purchase rare Pokémon card sentenced to 3 years in prison

His defense was not very effective.

Image via the Pokémon Company

After pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, a Georgia man has been sentenced to three years in prison for using COVID relief funds to purchase a rare $57,000 Charizard Pokémon card, initially reported on by Polygon.

Vinath Oudomsine was allotted an Economic Injury Disaster Loan that granted $85,000 for small businesses. The EIDL was created as part of the United States’ government’s pandemic relief plan, with the intent of being used for operational costs during the COVID-19 pandemic so small businesses could stay afloat.

Oudomsine received the loan after claiming a small business with 10 employees. Shortly after receiving the government aid, the Georgia man proceeded to spend approximately $57,000 of the loan on a rare Charizard Pokémon card.

Oudomsine purchased the first-edition holographic Charizard card with a 9.5 mint rating on the PWCC marketplace, one of the largest trading card marketplaces in the world. One of the most expensive individual cards on the marketplace, this single Charizard card cost Oudomsine far more than its initial asking price.

Along with paying back the initial EIDL loan of $85,000, U.S. district court judge Dudley H. Bowen also ordered the Georgia man had to pay an extra $10,000. Along with this, Oudomsine will serve a three-year prison sentence with supervised release following his release in 2025. As part of his plea, Oudomsine also had to turn over his Charizard card that landed him this hefty sentence.