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Man jailed after using Covid relief to buy Pokémon card

You’ve got to catch them all…

When the world’s governments announced their economy-easing efforts to stem losses caused by the pandemic, these systems – offering relief in exchange for often scant evidence – were always going to be prey to unscrupulous businesses seeking to make a fast buck during the confusion.

But the recent conviction of a Georgia USA businessman takes Covid relief fund fraud to a whole new, pokéball-sy level.

Rather than wisely (and legally) spend the full $85,000 he’d successfully obtained in relief funding – designed to pay rents and workers’ wages – Vinath Oudomsine couldn’t resist diverting some of his pandemic windfall – the intriguingly angular sum of $57,789, in fact – in the direction of a rare Pokémon card.

Pokémon-der arrest…

Of course it could be argued that this diversion of funding was a (Sand)shrewd investment, given that rare cards are on the rise (with one holographic Charizard going for over $300,000 on eBay).

Indeed, Pokémon’s popularity shows no sign of abating with – following the incredible popularity of AR-based Pokemon Go – increasingly metaverse-styled activity on the cards (as it were).

And all the evidence suggests that Oudomsine’s card was a similar find given that a first-edition, shadowless, holographic Charizard with a 9.5 gem mint rating was sold at the PWCC marketplace for the exact sum of $57,789 in late December 2021.

Perhaps his actions were a noble attempt to repay the government’s generosity and weren’t necessarily Eevee-l? Flipping their $57,000 into $300,000 sounds more like public service than theft to us.

Unfortunately it appears that officials involved thought otherwise and Oudomsine has been sentenced three years (Chariz)’ard labour…

Written By

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the world's biggest entertainment, home and tech media brands. He's reviewed all the greats, interviewed countless big names, and reported on thousands of releases in the fields of video games, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors, garden design and more. He’s the ex-Editor of PSM3, GamesMaster, Future Music and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Computer Music and more. He renovates property and writes fun things for great websites.

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