A Laurens County, Georgia man has been sentenced to federal prison after admitting he falsely claimed a COVID-19 emergency fund. The man then bought a collectible Charizard Pokémon trading card with the money.
Jail time for using COVID EIDL business loan to buy rare Charizard Pokemon card
Vinath Oudomsine was sentenced to 36 months in prison and was ordered to pay an $85,000 restitution, as well as three years of supervised release after serving time.
The story shows how important it is for companies claiming funding, such as the COVID-19 disaster relief loan, to be fair and transparent, as the price for dishonesty can be devastating.
As US Attorney David Estes said in a statement on the case, “Congress has appropriated funding to help small businesses grappling with the challenges of a global pandemic. Like moths on the fire, fraudsters like Oudomsine took advantage of these programs to line their own pockets — and with our law enforcement partners, we hold him and others accountable for their greed.”
A statement from the Department of Justice reads: “As a result of fraudulent statements about Oudomsine’s application, the SBA deposited $85,000 into Oudomsine’s bank account on August 4, 2020. Oudomsine later used $57,789 of the money to fund a Pokemon. trading card. Oudomsine agreed to lose the Pokémon card – “Charizard” – as part of the prosecution.
Disaster economic damage loan (EIDL)
In July 2020, Oudomsine filed with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), allegedly for an “entertainment services” company. He claimed the company had 10 employees and had revenue of $235,000 in the 12 months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 4, 2020, the SBA made a deposit of $85,000 into Oudomsine’s bank account. He then made a purchase of $57,789 for a Pokémon trading card.
Abusing emergency loan systems
COVID-19 disaster relief loans have been provided by the US government to help businesses that have been struggling as a result of the pandemic. As Philip Wislar, acting special agent with the FBI in Atlanta, said, “They should not be used for trivial collectibles.”
“This sentence highlights the FBI’s commitment to aggressively prosecute anyone who would misuse taxpayers’ money and divert them from citizens who desperately need them,” Wislar said.
The story underlines the need that financial support and assistance provided to small businesses in times of crisis should not be misused and must be obtained with full transparency and truthfulness. Fraudulent claims can not only damage the reputation of a company or individual, but they can also lead to hefty fines, prison terms and, in the case of the man in Georgia, both.
This post Georgia Man Sentenced After Using COVID EIDL Loan To Buy Pokémon Card was original published at “https://smallbiztrends.com/2022/03/prison-time-using-eidl-covid-business-loan-to-buy-rare-charizard-pokemon-card.html”