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Catching Pokémon

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Vinath Oudomsine, of Dublin, Ga., was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud for illegally obtaining a COVID-19 disaster relief loan. You might find it very interesting that he used a large portion of the loan to buy a collectable Pokémon card. (I guess Pokémon’s ”gotta catch ‘em all” line applies to both Pokémon and fraudsters.)

Around July 2020, Oudomsine applied to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) supposedly for an ”entertainment services” business in Dublin that he claimed had 10 employees and gross revenues of $235,000 in the 12 months preceding the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA deposited $85,000 into Oudomsine’s bank account despite the claim being fraudulent. (That means other legitimate small businesses couldn’t obtain loans.)

After receiving the fraudulent loan, Oudomsine used $57,789 of the funds to purchase a Pokémon trading card. As part of the prosecution, he agreed to hand over the ”Charizard” Pokémon card. (How giving of him.)

The purpose of EIDL loans were to help businesses struggling during the COVID pandemic, not to use to purchase trivial collectible items. Was a Pokémon card really worth going to prison? (The answer is a resounding ”NO.”)

Oudomsine was sentenced to three years behind bars, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was also fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $85,000 in restitution. (Hopefully this stiff sentencing will teach him and others a valuable lesson: if you do the crime, you’re going to do the time.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, ”Georgia man who used COVID relief funds to buy Pokémon card sentenced to prison,” published on March 7, 2022.

DUBLIN, GA:  A Laurens County, Georgia man has been sentenced to federal prison after admitting he lied to obtain a COVID-19 disaster relief loan, then used a large portion of the money to buy a collectible trading card.

Vinath Oudomsine, 31, of Dublin, Ga., was sentenced to 36 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of Wire Fraud, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen also fined Oudomsine $10,000, ordered him to pay restitution of $85,000, and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.

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