A Jacksonville Jaguars employee stole $22 million from the team to buy a condo and a Tesla Model 3 — and hire a defense lawyer, prosecutors allege

  • A former Jacksonville Jaguars employee is accused of stealing $22 million from the team.

  • Prosecutors allege the employee used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle.

  • He also used the funds to hire a defense lawyer. the court documents allege.

A former employee of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been accused of stealing more than $22 million from the NFL team and spending it on a lavish lifestyle that included buying a Tesla Model 3 and a condo, and also hiring a defense lawyer, according to court documents filed this week.

The court documents, filed in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida, allege that Amit Patel, a former financial planning manager for the team, made $22.2 million in fraudulent charges through the Jaguars' corporate virtual credit card system between September 2019 and February 2023.

While the court documents don't directly name the Jaguars as the business Patel worked at, the team said in a statement shared with Business Insider that it was the victim of Patel's alleged crimes.

"We can confirm that in February 2023, the team terminated the employment of the individual named in the filing," the team said in the statement. "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," the Jaguars added.

Court documents allege that Patel used the money to place bets online, buy a condo in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, pay for travel on private jets and in luxury hotels for him and his friends, buy a Tesla Model 3 and a Nissan pick up truck, and purchase cryptocurrency, sports memorabilia, a $95,000 watch, sports tickets, and more.

He also used it to "lodge a retainer with a criminal defense law firm," the court documents allege.

The documents allege that Patel didn't report the purchases to the Jaguars and instead hid them from the team.

Patel has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of illegal monetary transaction. Prosecutors say in court documents that if Patel is convicted, they want him to forfeit at least $22 million.

Patel's lawyer, Alex King, said in a statement to Business Insider that Patel has fully cooperated with the FBI and the US Attorney's Office's investigation and plans to plead guilty.

King said that Patel has a "serious gambling addiction" and that "approximately 99% of the funds misappropriated from the Jaguars' VCC were gambling losses."

King said Patel bought his "modest residence," with "mostly family money," and that he used his "earned funds" to purchase a Tesla Model 3.

"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. "Mr. Patel is deeply remorseful and apologizes for his conduct. He loved working for the Jacksonville Jaguars and regrets his actions which have resulted in him both losing his dream job and damaging the organization."

King said Patel checked himself into an inpatient rehab center earlier this year to address his addiction.

"Mr. Patel's serious gambling addiction does not excuse his actions, which he takes full responsibility for," King said.

The Jaguars said in the team statement that Patel "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," the team said.

Update December 7, 2023: This story has been updated with statements from Amit Patel's attorney received after publication.

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