A Jacksonville Jaguars employee is facing fraud charges related to embezzling millions from the team to feed, among other things, a gambling habit.
According to a filing in the Florida Central District Court, Amit Patel used the team’s virtual credit card for over $22 million to fund personal purchases ranging from a condominium to a Tesla to a habit of playing daily fantasy sports on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Per the filing, Patel would mask the charges by inflating the costs of legitimate charges related to the business.
The filing did not mention anything about Patel using insider team information when participating in these contests.
The fraudulent activity ran from 2019 until when Patel was dismissed by the team in February.
Patel’s attorney issued a press release in response to the allegations and said that Patel entered a rehab program earlier this year to help address his gambling addiction. The statement also claims 99% of the money taken from the team went to fund Patel’s gambling.
“Mr. Patel suffers from a serious gambling addiction, and in the spring of this year, checked himself into extensive, inpatient rehabilitation to address his addiction. Mr. Patel’s serious gambling addiction does nto excuse his actions, which he takes full responsibility for. Although incomprehensible to most, a gambling addiction is similar to substance abuse, such that the disorder can stimulate the brain’s dopamine response much like drugs or alcohol do. It provides an uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on one’s life, and creates a willingness to risk more and more, despite the impact it has. Almost the entirety of the funds Mr. Patel used from the VCC were spent on the gambling websites and efforts to win money back, with the anticipation he would repay the funds with the winnings and make the Jaguars whole. Unfortunately, Mr. Patel’s compulsive gambling only exacerbated the situation, and he continued to misappropriate funds in an effort to have gambling winnings offset his significant losses.”