A prominent NFL team has accused a former employee of theft. A lot of theft.
This week, the Jacksonville Jaguars filed documents in U.S. District Court that accuse Amit Patel of stealing more than $22 million from the team through wire fraud and illegal monetary transactions. The franchise’s former manager of financial planning and analysis reportedly stole the funds via the Jaguars’ virtual credit card (VCC) system over four years. He is accused of using these funds to pay for online gambling, private travel, a Tesla, cryptocurrency, and a property on Florida’s Ponte Vedra Beach. He reportedly even paid $95,000 for a Patek Philippe Nautilus, according to the documents.
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“We can confirm that in February 2023, the team terminated the employment of the individual named in the filing,” the team told CNN in a statement. “Over the past several months we have cooperated fully with the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.” The statement goes on to say that Patel “took advantage of his trusted position to covertly and intentionally commit significant fraudulent financial activity at the team’s expense.”
The Jaguars also worked with experienced law and accounting firms to conduct a comprehensive independent review. They found that no other team members were involved in or aware of Patel’s criminal activity. Patel was the sole administrator of the VCC system during his tenure with the team.
The system works similarly to a traditional credit card account but without a physical card. “To hide his fraudulent VCC transactions, the defendant identified legitimate reoccurring VCC transactions, such as catering, airfare, and hotel charges, and then duplicated those transactions,” court documents state.
“He inflated the amounts of legitimate reoccurring VCC transactions; he entered completely fictitious transactions that might sound plausible, but that never actually occurred; and he moved legitimate VCC chargers from upcoming months into the month of the integration file that was immediately due to the accounting department.”
Patel has waived his right to an indictment and the case is expected to proceed based on the sworn information filed by federal prosecutors.