It has been two months since news broke that a former Jacksonville Jaguars employee was accused of stealing $22 million from the team and using much of it to fund a "serious gambling addiction." Now, the football organization is trying to recover those funds.
Amit Patel, the former Jaguars finance manager, lost approximately $20 million of the stolen money on FanDuel. The team has asked the gambling company to reimburse some or all of the funds, but the company won't pay, ESPN reported Friday.
Patel reportedly siphoned money for three years from the Jaguars' virtual credit card system, which the franchise used for expenses. His role as "Financial Planning and Analysis Coordinator" included overseeing the system, along with budgets and monetary statements. His money management and betting skills appear to have both been terrible.
Patel spent so much of his stolen money on FanDuel's daily fantasy and sports bets that the company assigned him a "VIP host" to keep him satisfied, an anonymous source told ESPN. He reportedly played daily fantasy under the username "ParlayPicker," taking big losses in contests with buy-ins of more than $24,000. Separately, he lost a reported $1 million on DraftKings.
The team had to be alerted of Patel's daily fantasy habits by the NFL and didn't learn about his betting until January 2023, per ESPN. In February, the Jaguars confirmed he was fired and acted alone.
He was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of illegal monetary transaction in federal court on Dec. 6. Media reports of his plans to plead guilty surfaced the following day.
It doesn't look like the Jaguars have a lot of options to recover the losses. FanDuel has to ensure that funds they earn through sports betting are legally obtained, but the regulations for daily fantasy are apparently more lax.
"The way they see it ... we got this money fair and clear," ESPN's source said. "It's not our problem that we have to forfeit it back to you."
While a veteran daily fantasy player told ESPN that they believe ParlayPicker is "the biggest loser ever on FanDuel," Patel also spent money on a laundry list of other luxuries.
His alleged purchases include two vehicles, a condominium, a designer watch worth more than $95,000, cryptocurrency and more. Patel's attorney, Alex King, claimed that Patel used family or earned funds for his lifestyle and used the Jaguars' money only in a “horribly misguided effort to pay back previous gambling losses that utilized the Jaguars’ VCC program.”
Patel was reportedly in an inpatient rehab program for his gambling in December. His lawyer claims he does not expect any jail time, as his client has “fully cooperated” with the Jaguars, the FBI and other officials.
When he is sentenced March 12, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.