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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One thought on “Pokémon: Nostalgia and Criminal Fraud

  1. Pokemon cards are no joke. My brother collects them and thinks that they are so cool. One time at the dinner table he casually goes, “Can I have $200 for a Pokemon card that I don’t have yet?” My mom and I looked at each other shocked because he thought this was normal. How can one piece of paper cost that much let alone $57,000 on a Pokemon card?! It really takes the phrase supply and demand to a whole different level. We are not only seeing this with Pokemon cards but other toys as well. There is a rise of toys that are “mystery toys”. You don’t know what you are going to get and the rarity of each toy is different from the next. People are then fueled to buy more because they want a certain toy. It is crazy how the trend of rare and collectable items have made things insanely priced.

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