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How A $57,000 Pokemon Card Could Lead To 20 Years In Jail

Pokémon has proved to be one of gaming's most durable brands, as the long-running series still puts out popular videogames and films while the trading card arm of the franchise commands respectable prices for rare cards. It seems, however, that one of those rare Pokémon cards has landed the Georgia man who spent over $57,000 on it in a compromising position. He now faces jail time for misusing pandemic business loan funds.

If $57,000 sounds like an unbelievable amount to spend on a single Pokémon card, then buckle up, because while that price tag puts it somewhere near the top 10, it is hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the final price paid for the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold. Just as the auction prices for vintage videogames have gone through the roof, the value for desirable Pokémon cards has skyrocketed, making it unclear whether the individual who bought the card was simply trying to complete their collection or resell the card for profit.

Adding another layer of mystery to the entire proceedings is the fact that the court documents regarding the case neglected to mention which Pokémon card was sold for $57,000. However, those documents made it clear that the consequences could be severe. Here is how a valuable Pokémon card could end up earning one man a lengthy jail sentence.

A man invented employees to apply for a small business loan that was spent on Pokémon

As detailed in the documents presented by the United States District Court of Georgia, the saga of one of the world's most expensive Pokémon cards began in the months after the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged. Allegedly, to purchase the card, Vinath Oudomsine filed fraudulent claims with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that netted him a small business loan of $85,000.

To qualify, Oudomsine needed to demonstrate that he ran a business eligible for the loans. To do so, he allegedly sent in an application that detailed a sole proprietorship business with annual revenue of over $200,000 and 10 employees. Oudomsine submitted that claim in July 2020, and by the following month, he found the relief funds deposited in his bank account. What Oudomsine did with that cash next is unclear, but according to the United States District Court of Georgia, on January 8, 2021, over half of those funds, $57,789, were used to purchase a single Pokémon card.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans that Oudomsine took advantage of can be used for many purposes related to a business, including payroll, rent, and production costs, but it appears that the purchase of rare Pokémon cards does not qualify. While the charging documents do not specify what sort of punishment Oudomsine faces, The Telegraph explained that wire fraud can potentially require the payment of a $250,000 fine and result in a maximum of 20 years in prison.