Screengrab Courtesy of HISTORY via YouTube

Federal investigators claim they had no idea what to make of a rare Pokémon trading card (a 9.5-Grade Charizard) taken from a Georgia man who had purchased the item using Covid relief funds, as bizarre as that may sound.

Vinath Oudomsine, 31, of Dublin, Georgia, will receive a sentence of three years in federal prison on Friday after pleading guilty to scamming a Small Business Administration loan program in October, according to authorities.

Man Spent $57,789 Covid Fund To Buy Charizard Card

According to court records, Mr. Oudomsine spent $57,789 from the COVID program’s loan earnings on the card, a first-edition Charizard produced in 1999 that portrays a dragon-like creature from the Pokémon brand.

Screengrab Courtesy of HISTORY via YouTube

Prosecutors claim he received an $85k loan from the program five months previously for his little “entertainment services” company, which he said had 10 employees and gross revenues of $235k in the year prior to the COVID outbreak.

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According to authorities, there was no such business. The fraud has been active at a time during Covid when vintage cards and Pokémon Trading Card Game packs were in high demand like (The Charizard Card). Some veteran collectors even said that this has slowed down compared to early in the pandemic.

Turned Over To The Authorities

According to Mr. Cunningham, the chief of the office’s asset recovery division, Mr. Oudomsine’s relatives turned the card over to an F.B.I. agent in Atlanta. It was packed in a safe case with several assurances of authenticity, according to photographs provided by the US. Office of the Attorney General.

The card is currently in the hands of the United States. The Marshals Service would sell it and deposit the proceeds in the Justice Department’s seized-assets fund, according to Mr. Cunningham. The money would be returned to the Small Business Administration, he said.

Card Won’t Be Sold For What It’s Paid For

According to labels on the card and the business’s website, Beckett, a well-known authentication company for collectibles, graded the card a 9.5 out of 10, indicating that it is in “gem mint” condition.

Cards with a rating of 9 or 9.5 are more common than those with a grade of 10, such as the one purchased for $220,000 by Mr. Hurlocker. On March 4, Heritage Auctions sold a card at that grade for $336,000, including the buyer’s premium.

Screengrab Courtesy of HISTORY via YouTube

Mr. Oudomsine’s acquisition of the card, even if legal, was an ill-advised one, according to Charlie Hurlocker, a Pokémon card expert and trader.

Mr. Hurlocker said on Tuesday, “He was buying at the peak of the market. It was a terrible short-term purchase. Nobody was willing to pay more than him.”

Mr. Hurlocker believes the federal government will have a difficult time recouping the money Mr. Oudomsine spent for the card right now. “If they hired me as a professional consultant my advice would be to hold out,” he said.

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