A former Jacksonville Jaguars employee who stole $22 million from the team, largely to fund his daily fantasy sports betting habit, pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday.
Amit Patel faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine, according to ESPN. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of engaging in an illegal monetary transaction.
Patel’s attorney, Alex King, said that “approximately 99% of the funds misappropriated from the team’s virtual credit card were gambling losses,” largely from daily fantasy sports betting wagers.
LSR reached out to King for comment on the plea, but had not heard back by the time of publication.
Conditions on Patel’s bail
ESPN reported that Patel was released on $10,000 bond. He also had to:
- Surrender his passport
- Undergo a mental health evaluation
- Avoid using alcohol or drugs unless prescribed
- Submit to drug testing
- Not have any contact with Jaguars employees unless his lawyer was present
Patel’s daily fantasy sports username
The losses began to pile up in the months before Patel faced NFL investigators in February 2023. Patel was subsequently suspended, and then fired.
“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 not excuse his actions, which he takes full responsibility for,” King said.
Did stolen money fund Patel’s lifestyle?
King denied that Patel had funded his lifestyle with the stolen funds in a statement last week:
“Mr. Patel did not use the Jaguars’ VCC to fund his lifestyle, but in a horribly misguided effort to pay back previous gambling losses that utilized the Jaguars’ VCC program,” King said in a statement a week ago.
“While it has been widely reported that Mr. Patel used the funds to live an extravagant lifestyle, his modest residence was paid for mostly with family money and other money earned. Additionally, Mr. Patel purchased a Tesla Model 3 with his earned funds and traded that in to upgrade his vehicle to a similar Model 3.”