Former Jaguars Employee Stole $22 Million From Team, Has ‘Serious Gambling Addiction’

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Jaguars Sports Betting

A former Jacksonville Jaguars employee was charged with stealing over than $22 million from the organization. His lawyer stated that Amit Patel, his client, exploited the Jaguars’ virtual credit card (VCC) program because of a sports betting addiction. He employed these funds to gamble online and purchase homes and cryptocurrency, according to court documents filed.

The Athletic was the first online publication to report the news of the Jaguars’ ties to Patel’s sports betting addiction.

“Mr. Patel used VCC funds to gamble on Daily Fantasy Sports, the vast majority of which was done on FanDuel, and a significant portion on DraftKings,” attorney Alex King said in a statement on Thursday. “Approximately 99% of the funds misappropriated from the Jaguars’ VCC were gambling losses, almost all of which occurred on those two websites.”

King also said that Patel plans to plead guilty to the federal charges he currently is up against. Patel was accused of duplicating legalized expenses in an electronic ledger, inflating amounts of legitimate transactions while entering fictitious transactions. He subsequently took the rest of the money for the aforementioned purchases.

The NFL’s gambling policy prohibits club and league employees from gambling on NFL games or other sports. The same applies to daily fantasy sports. In April, Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams was one of six players to accept NFL suspensions for violating the league’s strict guidelines. Overall, the league has suspended 10 players for betting-related violations in 2023, with seven of them wagering on the NFL.

King affirmed that Patel’s “serious gambling addiction does not excuse his actions, which he takes full responsibility for.”

“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 noted in a statement. “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.”

NATIONAL RESOURCE FOR PROBLEM GAMBLING

If you or someone close to you is suffering from problem gambling or even just starting to show signs that gambling might be a problem, there are many ways to receive help. A great place to start is the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) website. There, you’ll find many resources, including links to individual state organizations that provide different types of problem gambling support.

The NCPG also has its own National Problem Gambling Helpline Network. Call the toll-free helpline at 800-522-4700 any time of day or night, seven days a week. NCPG representatives are ready to assist you via live chat at ncpgambling.org/chat. There are other resources for responsible gambling.

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