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Ex-Jags employee allegedly stole $22 million to bet on football

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Update Dec. 8: The former employee’s attorney said his client has a “serious gambling addiction” and will plead guilty to wire fraud and an illegal monetary transaction

From The Athletic:

Alex King said client Amit Patel bet on football and daily fantasy sports and when his losses started to pile up, began using fraudulently obtained money from the company’s virtual credit card (VCC) program to subsidize those losses.

“It started with a little bit and, as these things usually do, spiraled wildly out of control,” King told The Athletic in a telephone interview Thursday.

A former Jacksonville Jaguars employee is accused of stealing more than $22 million from the franchise over the course of two years. According to case documents obtained by The Athletic, Amit Patel has been charged with wire fraud and illegal monetary transaction.

According to the report, Patel allegedly stole from the franchise between 2019 and 2023 by exploiting the organization’s virtual credit card program. He used that system to buy two vehicles, a condo, and a $95,000 watch among other things. Patel also reportedly bought crypto and used the money to gamble online.

“We can confirm that in February 2023, the team terminated the employment of the individual named in the filing,” the team said in a statement to The Athletic. “Over the past several months we have cooperated fully with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida during their investigation and thank them for their efforts in this case.

“As was made clear in the charges, this individual was a former manager of financial planning and analysis who took advantage of his trusted position to covertly and intentionally commit significant fraudulent financial activity at the team’s expense for personal benefit. This individual had no access to confidential football strategy, personnel or other football information. The team engaged experienced law and accounting firms to conduct a comprehensive independent review, which concluded that no other team employees were involved in or aware of his criminal activity.”

Patel held several different roles within the Jaguars organization between 2018 and 2023. Some of the titles he held included coordinator of financial planning and analysis as well as manager of financial planning and analysis. According to The Athletic, Patel oversaw the team’s virtual credit card program, which allowed employees to “request VCCs for business-related purchases and expenses” if they had a certain level of authorization. According to the filing, Patel’s authority over the position allowed him to allegedly make fraudulent transactions.

If convicted of wire fraud and illegal money transaction, Patel would be required to forfeit money “in the amount of at least $22,221,454,40, which represents the proceeds of the offense” as well as any additional assets acquired through the illegal money.

Patel’s attorney did not respond to The Athletic’s interview request before the story was published. An NFL spokesperson and the assistant U.S. Attorney handling the case also didn’t respond to requests for comment, per the outlet.

The Khan family owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham FC, and All Elite Wrestling. According to Forbes’ list of 2023 billionaires, Shahid Khan is worth an estimated $12.1 billion.

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