NFL Team Wants Back The Millions Stolen By Amit Patel
NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – Jacksonville Jaguars, a Florida-based football team, has asked sports betting firm FanDuel to return some or all the nearly $20 million in stolen proceeds that its former Indian-origin employee lost on the site.
Amit Patel, manager of financial planning and analysis of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2018 to 2023, misused the team’s virtual credit card program (VCC) to steal $22 million.
According to ESPN, Patel lost about $20 million of the funds on daily fantasy and sports bets at FanDuel, which had assigned him a VIP host.
Patel transferred money directly from the team VCC to FanDuel, which the latter is unwilling to pay, the sports channel reported, citing sources.
“The way they (FanDuel) see it … we got this money fair and clear. It’s not our problem that we have to give it back to you,” a source said, adding that discussions are on between FanDuel, the Jaguars, and the National Football League (NFL).
Patel was a high-stakes and high-volume daily fantasy player on FanDuel and DraftKings — both of which are official betting partners of the NFL, according to online records.
In December, he was charged with wire fraud and illegal monetary transactions in court documents filed by the US District Court in Florida.
Among other things, Patel allegedly used the stolen money to purchase a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; acquire a new Tesla Model 3 sedan, a Nissan pickup truck, and a wristwatch that cost more than $95,000.
Patel’s attorney, in a December 7 statement, denied that Patel funded his lifestyle with the stolen money and said his home and car were bought with family or earned money.
He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced on March 12.
Sources told ESPN that FanDuel alerted the NFL to Patel’s betting in January 2023 after he placed traditional sports bets in Tennessee.
The Jaguars remained oblivious to Patel’s machination until they were notified by the NFL.
“Gambling sites have a duty to perform ‘Anti-Money Laundering’ and ‘Know Your Client’ procedures to ensure they do not onboard funds of an illicit origin,” Stephen Bell, an attorney, told ESPN.
Making a court appearance last year, Patel said he has a “gambling disorder” and is seeing a therapist weekly for treatment. He also underwent treatment for alcohol and substance abuse from March to June last year.