Ex-Jaguars employee allegedly stole $22 million from team to fund lavish lifestyle

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Former Jaguars employee Amit Patel has been accused of pilfering over $22 million from the team’s coffers in a scheme that allegedly lasted from 2019 until earlier this year. Patel was charged with wire fraud and illegal monetary transaction in court documents filed earlier this week by the U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Fla., according to a report by The Athletic on Tuesday. He was accused of using the ill-gotten proceeds to fund everything from luxury watches to private jet travel to new cars. “We can confirm that in February 2023, the team terminated the employment of the individual named in the filing,” the Jaguars told The Athletic 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 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 worked in the finance department of the team and is accused of having used his oversight of the franchise’s virtual credit card (VCC) program, which is intended to be used for employees to fund legitimate business expenses, to commit fraud. According to the court filing, Patel manually tinkered with the system by using “reoccurring VCC transactions, such as catering, airfare, and hotel charges, and then duplicated those transactions; he inflated the amounts of legitimate reoccurring transactions; he entered completely fictitious transactions that might sound plausible, but that never actually occurred.” Patel is accused of having “used the proceeds of this scheme, in whole or part, to place bets with online gambling websites; to purchase a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; to pay for personal travel for himself and friends (including chartering private jets and booking luxury hotels and private rental residences); to acquire a new Tesla Model 3 sedan and Nissan pickup truck; to lodge a retainer with a criminal defense law firm; and to purchase cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens, electronics, sports memorabilia, a country club membership, spa treatments, concerts and sporting event tickets, home furnishings and luxury wrist watches.”

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