• The man had applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan
  • The Small Business Administration deposited $85,000 in his account
  • He nearly spent all of it to buy the trading card

A Georgia man was charged with wire fraud after he allegedly spent his COVID-19 business relief loan to buy a single Pokémon card worth $57,789.

Vinath Oudomsine of Dublin had applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on July 14, 2020, falsely stating he has had a business since 2018 where at least 10 persons were employed. The man claimed the gross revenue of the 12-month period to be $235,000, Law and Crime reported Sunday, citing prosecutors.

Oudomsine showed payroll, production costs, debts or rent as reasons to submit the loan application, and nearly exhausted all of it on the trading card, according to his charging documents. The Small Business Association deposited $85,000 into a bank account belonging to Oudomsine in August 2020, according to the charging document.

Authorities didn't indicate what kind of business he purported to own. It was also not clear which Pokémon card he was accused of purchasing. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison and $250,000 worth of penalty.

"In furtherance of the scheme and artifice, on or about Jan. 8, 2021, Oudomsine used the funds obtained from SBA by means of false and fraudulent representation to purchase a Pokémon card for $57,789," authorities wrote in the charging documents.

The EIDL was approved as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, which was sanctioned in March 2020. The eligibility criteria of the loan were expanded eventually, and a handful of requirements was waived. The funds are meant to be used for normal expenditures, rent and utilities.

In a similar case, a Taiwanese national living in Manhattan in the year 2020 was charged for fraudulently obtaining over $7 million in SBA's PPP and EIDL programs and spending the amount on luxury items and a Mercedes car. The accused, identified as Sheng Wen Cheng, who was living on a U.S. student visa, claimed to have had employed 200 people in companies owned by him and paid $1.5 million in monthly wages. It was revealed in an investigation that he had only 14 employees. He reportedly transferred at least $1 million of the relief fund to overseas accounts, and spent nearly $300,000 on personal luxury items including 18-carat gold rolls and a Mercedes car.

Representational image. Pixabay