Pokémon: Nostalgia and Criminal Fraud

The Pokémon company debuted with massive success in the late 90’s and the children who grew up collecting the cards have driven the value of some of them to unimaginable heights. The “holy grail” of which is the first edition “Charizard” which is highly sought out for and is valued up to six figures in pristine condition. Aside from the nostalgia, there is an artistic appreciation for the hand drawn images in their small portraits. The Covid-19 pandemic brought a reemergence of the hobby to the mainstream, with popular youtubers like Logan Paul buying and opening 20+ year old Pokémon card packs to millions of his viewers.

Early in the pandemic, with the amount of additional spare time people had, many rediscovered their love for a hobby they once adored as children. One particular individual, Vinath Oudomsine, a 31-year-old man from Georgia took his love for Pokémon a bit too seriously… Mr. Oudomsine took advantage of Federal covid relief funds by applying for a $85,000 loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a totally fabricated small “entertainment services” business. With this money, he spent $57,789 of it on a single Pokémon card, the famous 1st Edition Base Set Charizard.

Mr. Oudomsine plead guilty one count of wire fraud and was sentenced to 36 months in Federal Prison. Additionally, he was fined $10,000, is required to pay all the $85,000 back and agreed to forfeit the card he was willing to risk it all for. Mr. Oudomsine paid a hefty price for spending taxpayers’ money which could had assisted people who actually need the assistance. So many businesses were forced to close down for good which could have used these funds to withstand the lockdowns. This was a very interesting case, in the extent people are willing to go to relive their childhood memories.

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