A former Jacksonville Jaguars employee is accused of stealing more than $22 million from the franchise from 2019 to 2023 by exploiting the organization’s virtual credit card program, and he used the money to purchase, between others, two vehicles, a condominium and a brand watch. worth over $95,000. Some of this money was also allegedly used to buy cryptocurrency and place bets on online gaming sites.
Amit Patel, who worked for the Jaguars for five years starting in 2018, is named in court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Florida, earlier this week. The Jaguars were not named in the federal filing — the organization was referred to as “Business A” — but the team confirmed it was a victim of Patel’s alleged crimes.
“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. “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 we thank them for their efforts in this matter. As the charges make clear, this individual was a former financial planning and analysis manager who took advantage of his position of trust to secretly and intentionally commit significant financial fraud at the team’s expense and to his personal benefit. This individual did not have access to strategy, personnel or other confidential football information. The team hired experienced law and accounting firms to conduct a comprehensive independent review, which concluded that no other team employees were involved in or aware of its criminal activity.
An NFL spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Patel’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for an interview. The assistant U.S. attorney in the case also did not respond to a message left with his office.
Patel is listed in the Jaguars’ media guides from 2018 to 2022. His titles during those years were coordinator, financial planning and analysis, then manager, financial planning and analysis. Court records indicate he was fired in February 2023.
Before his departure, Patel oversaw the company’s monthly financial statements and departmental budgets and was the club’s administrator for its Virtual Credit Card (VCC) program, which allowed certain authorized employees to “request VCCs for business-related purchases or expenses,” according to the filing.
His authority over the VCC program enabled Patel to carry out fraudulent transactions beginning in September 2019. The court filing says he hid these transactions by identifying “recurring VCC transactions, such as restaurant, airline and hotel charges, and then duplicating those transactions; he inflated the amounts of legitimate and recurring transactions; he entered into completely fictitious transactions that might seem plausible, but which never happened.
The court filing states that Patel “used the proceeds of this scheme, in whole or in part, to place bets on online gaming sites; buy a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; to pay for personal travel for himself and his friends (including chartering private jets and booking luxury hotels and private rental residences); acquire a new Tesla Model 3 sedan and a Nissan pickup truck; file a warrant with a criminal defense law firm; and to purchase cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens, electronic devices, sports memorabilia, country club membership, spa treatments, concert and sporting event tickets, home furnishings and luxury wristwatches.
It is not stated in the court filing what Patel allegedly bet on on the online gaming sites. When asked if the team wanted to comment on the allegation, a Jaguars spokesperson declined.
Patel was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of illegal monetary transaction. If convicted, Patel may be required to forfeit property “in the amount of at least $22,221,454.40, which represents the proceeds of the offense” in addition to assets purchased or financed with the proceeds offenses and/or involved in an illegal monetary transaction. “, indicates the file.
In a filing Tuesday, Patel’s attorney filed a waiver of indictment in which Patel waived prosecution by indictment and consented that “proceedings may proceed by discovery instead only by indictment.”
(Photo: Roy K. Miller/Getty Images)