Former Jags employee used team funds to gamble and buy $47K Tiger Woods club

Jacksonville Jaguars Amit Patel
Image: University of College / Shutterstock

A former Jacksonville Jaguars employee has had details of his fraudulent use of the team’s virtual credit card released ahead of a sentencing hearing next week.

According to a filing in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, former Jaguars employee Amit Patel embezzled more than $22 million from the team to fund personal purchases, including luxury trips and daily fantasy sports contests on FanDuel and DraftKings. Patel, who worked in the team’s finance department, pleaded guilty in December 2023 to one count of wire fraud and one count of engaging in an illegal monetary transaction. The 31-year-old admitted to improper use of the Jaguars’ funds while also creating and falsifying team accounting records.

Patel committed his crimes between September 2019 and February 2023 and faces up to 30 years in prison for his actions, which were mainly attributed to a gambling addiction.

“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,” said Patel’s attorney Alex King in a press release. “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.”

Despite his attorney’s support, new court filings showcase an abundance of illicit spending by Patel.

According to federal prosecutors, Patel’s illegal use of the Jaguars’ funds included the purchase of a $47,113 putter used by legendary golf Tiger Woods in 1996. He spent more than $278,000 on hotels and travel, including $78,800 on private jet charters. Patel also dished out $95,000 of the team’s money to purchase one Patek Philippe wristwatch.

The former Jaguars’ employee’s lavish spending continued after being investigated. A week before his guilty plea, Patel spent $2,200 for a “game issued” Trevor Lawrence jersey that was purchased on eBay.

Evaluating Patel’s history

Patel’s legal team has provided several reasons for Patel’s fraudulent behavior, including the immigration of his family from India to America and the racial discrimination they faced.

King cited stalking and inappropriate behavior toward Patel by a high school cafeteria worker as a factor for his transgressions. His attorney also cited several deaths of friends and family and a gambling addiction that has been traced back to Patel’s college days.

Patel, who is said to have participated in outpatient therapy for gambling disorder, has been recommended a seven-year prison sentence by prosecutors while his attorney has requested at the very least one year in confinement. He also faces up to a $500,000 fine.