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Former Jags Employee Accused Of Stealing $22 Million, Used It On Cars, Gambling, And Crypto

2:51 PM EST on December 7, 2023

Jacksonville Jaguars mascot Jaxson de ville, wearing sunglasses and a jersey and carrying the team flag and American flag, leads the team onto the field against the Cleveland Browns in October 2008
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

According to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, former Jacksonville Jaguars employee Amit Patel siphoned away more than $22 million from the team over the course of three-and-a-half years and used it to fund a decidedly lavish lifestyle. The Athletic reported the news on Wednesday, and though the indictment only names the Jaguars as "Business A," the team confirmed to The Athletic that Patel was fired in February 2023 after they uncovered evidence of his alleged embezzlement. "This individual had no access to confidential football strategy, personnel or other football information," they said. "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."

Per the indictment, Patel began overseeing Jacksonville's virtual credit card (VCC) program shortly after the 2019 season started. This gave him the power to approve and track employee expenses, power he allegedly used to enter $22,221,454.40 worth of "reoccurring VCC transactions, such as catering, airfare, and hotel charges, and then duplicated those transactions." Patel was essentially doing some pretty basic Excel wizardry, per the indictment, not only doubling up on legitimate transactions, but also creating plausible-sounding fake transactions, pumping up real transactions, and shifting legit transactions from month-to-month and pocketing the difference.

He allegedly got away with it for years, long enough to rack up Ayo Dosunmu money. Patel spent big, and he made sure his friends and family ate too. According to the indictment, his purchases and expenditures include: a new Tesla Model 3 and a Nissan pickup truck; private jet charters, luxury hotels, and expensive private rentals for him and his friends; a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch for $95,000; retainer at a criminal defense firm (and they say nobody knows sound financial planning anymore); a country club membership, sports memorabilia, and spa treatments; and a bunch of cryptocurrency, NFTs, and sports bets. The indictment only lists the value of a few of Patel's transactions, like the watch, the property ($265,000), and the Tesla ($40,000), which is disappointing, because I would really like to know how much he lost on NFTs and crypto.

Patel was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of illegal monetary transaction, and if found guilty, he could be forced to fork over assets and property such that the Jags are made whole. He may have to mount the Michael Lewis defense that all those worthless NFTs have huge theoretical value.

Correction, 5:00 p.m. ET: The court filing in question is a criminal indictment, not a lawsuit, as it was referred to in an earlier version of this story.

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