A man from Georgia, USA, has been jailed for fraudulently using COVID-19 relief payments to buy a rare, shiny Charizard Pokémon card.
As reported by Polygon, 31-year-old Vinath Oudomsine pretended to be a small business owner to receive an $85,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and then spent most of it on the card.
The first-edition, shadowless, holographic Charizard (super rare, super shiny) was bought for $57,789 in December and has now been handed over to the state.
Oudomsine pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to three years in prison, three years of “supervised release” afterward, and must also pay a $10,000 fine on top of the loan repayment.
Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, Philip Wislar said: “COVID-19 disaster relief loans are issued by the government to help businesses struggling to survive during a pandemic, not to use for trivial collectible items. This sentence highlights the FBI’s commitment to aggressively pursue anyone who would abuse taxpayer dollars and divert them from citizens who desperately need them.”
It’s not the only recent Pokémon card related crime – someone reportedly broke through the wall of an independent gaming store in Minnesota last month and stole around $250,000 worth of products.
The thief allegedly cleared out two storage rooms of different Pokémon card items including booster boxes worth upwards of $100 each.
A similar incident also occurred in Tokyo last year when a man allegedly used a rope to descend into a store and steal Pokémon cards and cash.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale.