JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A former employee who worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars has been accused of stealing more than $22 million from the organization.
In court documents obtained by Action News Jax from the U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Amit Patel was the manager of financial planning and analysis for the team. His responsibilities included preparing financial statements, overseeing department budgets, and acting as the administrator of various programs, including the business’s virtual credit card (VCC) program.
It was the virtual credit card program that Patel is accused of exploiting for financial gain.
The corporate VCC program was used similarly to a credit card but without the need to use a physical card. According to the documents, VCCs were used for business-related purchases or expenses.
“As part of the defendant’s scheme, rather than accurately report his VCC transactions, the defendant (Patel) created integration files that contained numerous false and fraudulent entries and emailed them to Business A’s (Jaguars) accounting department,” the court documents read. “He used a variety of methods to hide his illicit transactions by omitting them from the integration files, while still having the total dollar amount of VCC expenditures match the balances paid by Business A for the VCC program line of credit.”
An example was Patel duplicating charges used for legitimate team purchases such as catering, airfare, and hotel stays. He would then inflate the amounts of dollars spent on those transactions. It seemed like realistic charges he was submitting but in fact, they never actually took place.
Some of the personal purchases Patel is accused of making from the scam include a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, a Tesla Model 3 sedan, a Nissan pickup truck, a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch worth over $95K, and cryptocurrency. He also spent the stolen money to lodge a retainer with a criminal defense law firm, purchase sports memorabilia, a country club membership, concert and sporting event tickets, place bets with online gambling websites, and private jet charters.
[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]
While court documents do not name the Jaguars and refer to them as “Business A”, the team did confirm Patel’s alleged scheme.
“We can confirm that in February 2023, the team terminated the employment of the individual named in the filing. 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.”— Jacksonville Jaguars
The United States Attorney’s Office charged Amit Patel with wire fraud and illegal monetary transaction.