It may feel like just yesterday that Christopher Moltisanti and his crew of Sopranos family agents were hijacking a shipment of Pokemon cards at the turn of the millennium on HBO, but two decades later, the trading card game based on the Nintendo series is arguably more popular than ever.
Packs of cards are flying off the shelves amid the latest trading card boom, and sales of older cards have skyrocketed as people have gone back home to mine their closets for a nice payday. And while there’s a lot of speculation that these big sales have something sketchy behind them, the government has apparently found proof of at least one illegal sale of a single Pokemon card that cost five figures.
As the Washington Post detailed, the federal government released details of the few people who misused the bevy of pandemic-related business programs and loans floated to people over the last two years as a result of pandemic-related hardships. Some of that went to Vinath Oudomsine, who apparently used two-thirds of his loan on a single card that cost the Georgia man $57,789.
On July 14, 2020, according to prosecutors, Oudomsine sought a loan for a business that he said had 10 employees and revenue of $235,000 over a year. The next month, court documents state, the SBA deposited $85,000 into a bank account in Oudomsine’s name.
Court filings give few details about the alleged Pokémon card purchase — such as which “Pocket Monster” it carried — simply stating that Oudomsine bought it “on or about” Jan. 8 of this year.
Collectible gaming cards can fetch big sums — this year, one unopened box of first-edition Pokémon cards sold for more than $400,000.
Interestingly, they did not get specific about which card it is, though the most likely candidate is the Charizard card many have long coveted from the base set. Still, no matter how nostalgic you want to get about your Pocket Monster-filled youth, try not to break the law along the way.