JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A former Jacksonville Jaguars financial employee is accused of stealing more than $22 million from the franchise over a four-year period by manipulating its virtual credit card program, according to documents filed this week in U.S. District Court.
The United States Attorney’s Office charged Amit Patel with wire fraud and illegal monetary transaction, alleging that Patel — who held various titles during his tenure with the Jaguars, including most recently manager, financial planning and analysis — used his position as the sole overseer of the franchise’s VCC program to fund lavish personal purchases and cover up his theft.
The Athletic first reported the charges, which were filed in the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District of Florida on Tuesday.
The Jaguars were not named in the court filing, but the team confirmed it is the entity identified as “Business A” and said in a statement that it had fired Patel earlier this year.
“We can confirm that in February 2023, the team terminated the employment of the individual named in the filing,” the statement said. “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.”
According to the court filing, Patel is accused of stealing $22,221,454.40 and using some of that money for purchases that include a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, a Tesla Model 3 sedan, cryptocurrency, chartering private jets, luxury hotel stays, a country club membership and luxury wrist watches.
The filing alleges that Patel became the sole administrator in October 2019 of the Jaguars’ VCC program, which is a payment method that functions like a traditional credit card account but without a physical credit card. Certain employees were allowed to use the VCC program for business-related purchases and expenses. Patel is accused of duplicating legitimate expenses in an electronic ledger, inflating amounts of legitimate transactions and entering fictitious transactions, and then using the money for personal purchases.
The filing does not detail how or when the Jaguars became aware of the alleged theft.
Source : ESPN