Man Receives 3 Years in Federal Prison for Using COVID Relief Funds on a Pokémon Card
A Georgia man on Monday was sentenced to three years in federal prison and three years of supervised release, along with $85,000 in restitution and a $10,000 fine. His crime: using COVID-19 relief funds to buy a collectible Pokémon card.
It wasn’t just any Pokémon card; it was a “Charizard,” which is apparently quite the find—valued at $57,789.
In July 2020, Vinath Oudomsine applied for COVID-19 disaster relief funds to be disbursed through the Small Business Administration (SBA), claiming that the $85,000 he ultimately received would help bulk up his entertainment business hit hard by the pandemic. Instead, it went to Charizard.
“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,” said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, in a statement. “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.”
That’s a bit rich when considering the the success rate of similar relief initiatives, like the Paycheck Protection Program, which was far more likely to legally fatten the pockets of business owners and shareholders than it was to actually help workers. And what about the COVID stim
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