Bloke Uses COVID Business Loan To Buy $77,000 Pokemon Card

COVID Business Loan Pokemon Card

Shenanigans of this kind are inevitable. It’s almost a law of science. Wherever there are cash windfalls, there will always – always – be an operator vibing on their own unique wavelength who spends it on unbelievably dumb shit. The latest textbook example comes thanks to Georgia man Vinath Oudomsine, who has been charged by the US government for using US$57,789 (AU$77,000) of his COVID business loan on a rare Pokemon card.

Federal prosecutors reveal the enterprising Mr Oudomsine took full advantage of the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and falsely applied for money during the pandemic in 2020. Creative accounting was involved when the paperwork asked for the number of people employed – claiming the headcount was 10 – as well as the company’s gross revenue – claiming the gross figure was US$235,000 (AU$313,500).

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Approved for a grand total of US$85,000 (AU$113,400), a healthy 68% of the funds were obviously misappropriated shortly after. And a year later, Vinath Oudomsine now faces one count of wire fraud, which could mean up to 20 years in prison and a hefty US$250,000 (AU$333,500) fine if convicted. The funniest part is that neither the court documents nor any media sources indicate which Pokemon card was actually purchased using the COVID business loan; although some estimate it could be a Dark Charizard, which sold for roughly the same price last October.

This isn’t exactly an isolated incident in the Land of the Free/Home of the Brave, or any other country for that matter. In recent months, there have been separate reports of 21st century hustlers using COVID-related financial relief to bankroll their weekend partying habits as well as a goddamn Lamborghini.

Earlier this month, it was estimated the Small Business Administration (SBA) overpaid US$4.5 billion (AU$6 billion) in grants to self-employed individuals, with US federal watchdogs concluding that “no system of controls was in place to flag applications with flawed or illogical information.” It was to the extent some were successful in falsely claiming they had one million employees on the payroll.

Vinath Oudomsine’s legal representation has declined to comment.