An Indian-American ex-employee of American football team Jacksonville Jaguars has been accused of stealing more than $22 million from the team’s bank accounts to fund his luxurious lifestyle. The accused, Amit Patel, worked as the team’s financial planning and analysis manager from 2018 to 2023.
According to court documents filed in the US District Court in Jacksonville, Florida, Patel exploited the organisation’s virtual credit card (VCC) programme and used the money to buy a Tesla Model 3 sedan, a Nissan pickup truck, a $95,000 watch and pay for his chartered flights.
Prior to Patel’s termination from the job, he oversaw the company’s monthly financial statements and department budgets. The VCC programme allowed certain authorised employees such as Patel to “request VCC’s for business-related purchases or expenses”.
Apart from funding his lifestyle, Patel has been alleged to have used the money to place bets with online gambling websites, buy cryptocurrency, and NFTs, as well as purchase a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
He has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of illegal monetary transactions.
Jaguars release a statement
The football club released a statement after Patel was charged saying he was fired in February earlier this year and that he did not have any access to confidential football strategy, personnel and other information.
“We can confirm that in February 2023, the team terminated the employment of the individual named in the filing,” the Jaguars were quoted as saying by Athletic.
“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.”
Patel’s attorney on Tuesday (Dec 5) filed a waiver of indictment in which Patel waived prosecution by indictment and consented that “the proceeding may be by information rather than indictment”.
(With inputs from agencies)