(File photo) Pokemon cards Photograph:( Agencies )
Vinath Oudomsine from Dublin faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines if convicted.
A man based in Georgia, US, who received coronavirus relief aid from the government, used the majority of the money to buy a Pokemon card.
Vinath Oudomsine from Dublin was charged on October 19 for fraudulently applying for money from the Economic Injury Disaster Loans under the CARES Act, which aims to help small businesses experiencing hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in October, 2020.
The federal prosecutors say that he made false statements about the number of employees working in his company and the firm’s gross revenue when he applied for the relief.
They said the Small Business Administration deposited $85,000 in his bank account the following month.
Federal prosecutors say Oudomsine used $57,789 to buy a Pokemon card.
They argued that the loans, meant for small businesses impacted by the pandemic, can be used for expenses such as payroll, sick leave, production costs, debt and rent or mortgage payments, but Oudomsine “unjustly enriched himself."
Authorities, however, didn’t specify which Pokemon card Oudomsine allegedly bought with the federal funds.
Oudomsine faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines if convicted.
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Rare Pokémon cards have a huge market among enthusiasts and usually sells for thousands of dollars.
Collectors have known to be bidding up prices for trading cards, video games and other mementos.
In March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which made more small businesses eligible for the SBA’s economic-injury disaster loans.
The expansion was meant to help the owners of small businesses cover the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic by providing them with an emergency loan they could use on expenses such as payroll, production costs, and rent.
(With inputs from agencies)