Jacksonville Jaguars Employee Who Stole $22M Gets 6.5 Years

Posted on: March 13, 2024, 06:18h. 

Last updated on: March 13, 2024, 06:18h.

A Florida man who stole $22 million from the Jacksonville Jaguars to fund a prodigious gambling habit has been sentenced to six and a half years in a federal prison.

Amit Patel, Jacksonville Jaguars, FanDuel, DraftKings
Amit Patel, left, arriving at a Florida courtroom with his lawyer, Alex King. His former colleagues described feeling “betrayed” by Patel’s actions in a statement read out to court. (News4AJAX)

Last December, Amit Patel pleaded guilty to wire fraud and engaging in an illegal monetary transaction in relation to the embezzlement. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. ordered the 31-year-old to pay the Jags $21.1 million in restitution and to seek professional help for his gambling.

Patel worked for the NFL team as a finance manager from 2018 to 2023, and from 29 onwards he was the sole administrator of its virtual credit card (VCC) system. During that time, he siphoned off exactly $22,221,454.40 from the VCC program by faking hundreds of purchases and transactions with no legitimate business purpose.

He transferred approximately $20 million to his FanDuel account and $1 million to DraftKings, where he lost big on daily fantasy sports (DFS) and sports betting under the username “ParlayPicker.”

High Volume, High Stakes

Patel was a “high-volume, high-stakes DFS player,” who was described by one DFS regular as the “biggest loser ever on FanDuel,” according to a December 2023 ESPN report.

Patel’s attorney, Alex King, said that his client’s behavior was fueled by gambling addiction and that “99% of the misappropriated funds” were lost through gambling. But Patel also squandered money in a manner that was unconnected to his addiction.

He transferred $5 million from his FanDuel and DraftKings accounts to his PayPal and other personal accounts and splurged on luxury items.

He purchased Tiger Woods’ 1996 putter and blew $78K on private jet charters. He spent almost $600K at Apple and more than $40K at Amazon and Best Buy. He bought a Ponte Vedra Beach condo for $265K.

“I stand before you embarrassed, shamed, and disappointed by my actions,” Patel said during his sentencing hearing. “I can never truly convey how sorry I am to everyone affected by my actions.”

‘Broke Our Hearts’

Patel was a popular figure with his colleagues, according to a statement read by the Jaguars’ senior vice president and chief legal officer, Megha Parekh, on behalf of the team.

We gave him his dream job. We trusted him. We worked with him. We broke bread with him. We went through a pandemic and the highs and lows of the NFL with him. He betrayed us. We take no joy in his punishment,” Parekh said. “Make no mistake, Amit broke our hearts.”

The Jaguars are exploring the possibility of recouping the money from FanDuel.

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