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NFL

Former Jaguars employee stole $22 million from the team but how did he do it?

If there is one thing that’s been reinforced by the situation surrounding the team’s former employee, it’s that gambling is and always will be a slippery slope.

Update:
If there is one thing that's been reinforced by the situation surrounding the team's former employee, it's that gambling is and always will be a slippery slope.

While it’s now clear that justice will run its course, there will likely be many questions about how such a thing was allowed to happen and for such an extended period of time, especially when taking a look at the amount of money that was stolen.

Amit Patel’s gambling addiction led him to commit a crime.

According to reports on Thursday, a former Jacksonville Jaguars employee allegedly stole more than $22 million from the team, and will now plead guilty to two federal charges. Based on comments from his legal representative, Alex King, it is understood that Amit Patel, a Jaguars employee from 2018 to earlier this year, has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of illegal monetary transaction in a federal court after he reportedly utilized the team’s virtual credit card program to steal the funds.

On Thursday King explained that his client has a “serious gambling addiction” which led him to start stealing money from the team in an effort to pay off his gambling debts. “It started with a little bit, and as these things usually do, spiraled wildly out of control,” King said. King also went on to disclose that Patel was regularly betting on football and daily fantasy sports. What’s more, is that he was using his own name while placing bets “almost exclusively.” Where Jaguars themselves are concerned, it is not known whether Patel bet on their games. Incidentally, it was back in February when the NFL first informed Patel that they would be investigating his activity.

What role did Amit Patel have with the Jaguars?

It is understood that Patel worked as both a financial planning/analysis coordinator and manager with the Jaguars, roles in which he oversaw the team’s monthly financial statements and department budgets. Additionally, reports also indicate that he oversaw the virtual credit card program. In 2019, Patel allegedly began to make fraudulent transactions, apparently hiding them by using “reoccurring VCC transactions, such as catering, airfare, and hotel charges, and then duplicated those transactions; he inflated the amounts of legitimate reoccurring transactions; he entered completely fictitious transactions that might sound plausible, but that never actually occurred.”

At that point, Patel allegedly used the funds to buy a number of things including two vehicles, a condominium, a designer watch worth more than $95,000, cryptocurrency, and more. Interestingly, his attorney insisted on Thursday that Patel did not use the stolen money to “live an extravagant lifestyle,” but rather in a “horribly misguided effort to pay back previous gambling losses that utilized the Jaguars’ VCC program.” King’s explanation didn’t stop there either. “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.”

So, where are the Jaguars and Amit Patel at right now?

As per reports, Patel checked himself into an inpatient rehabilitation center to deal with his gambling addiction earlier this year. Further to that, he has “fully cooperated” with the Jaguars, the FBI, and other officials and will continue to do so according to King. The attorney also indicated that he does not expect Patel to serve any time in prison. As for the Jaguars, they did in fact confirm on Wednesday that they had dismissed King back in February and that he had acted alone. In a statement released by the team, they acknowledge Patel’s deeds:

“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 team said in a statement, in part. “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.”

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