Jacksonville Jaguars Want FanDuel to Return $20M Gambled on Site

Posted on: February 5, 2024, 11:39h. 

Last updated on: February 5, 2024, 02:21h.

The Jacksonville Jaguars pro football team is seeking to have FanDuel pay back $20M in funds embezzled from the team by a former employee. The funds were subsequently gambled away on the sports betting site, according to ESPN.

Amit Patel
Amit Patel, pictured above. The former Jaguars employee is to be sentenced next month for a theft scheme. (Image: First Coast News)

The loot was stolen by an ex-employee of the Jacksonville, Fla., NFL team who gambled on fantasy and sports events offered by FanDuel.

The former Jaguars employee, Amit Patel, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and monetary transaction charges in December. Patel admitted using a Jaguars’ virtual credit card (VCC) to swipe the money. Patel was the administrator of the team’s VCC system.

He hid the illegal activity by identifying “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,” a court filing revealed.

Big Spender

Patel also lost some $1M while wagering on FanDuel’s competitor, DraftKings.

Patel used the money to support an “extravagant lifestyle” that included chartering private jets, staying at fancy hotels, joining a country club, and wearing a $95K watch, according to reports from ESPN. Patel’s attorney, Alex King, denied his client used stolen money to fund his lifestyle, telling ESPN that Patel is “deeply remorseful” over his actions.

Florida-based news outlet First Coast News reported that King revealed that “almost the entirety of the funds Mr. Patel used … were spent on the gambling websites and efforts to win money back, with the anticipation he would repay the funds with the winning and make the Jaguars whole.”

Prosecutors said the total amount he spent on online wagering was $22,221,454.40. The team fired Patel in February 2023 after the theft was discovered. The theft occurred between 2019 and 2023.

When Patel is sentenced on March 12, he could get 30 years in prison and pay up to $500K in fines.

Claims Gambling Disorder

In December, Patel testified in court he suffers from a “gambling disorder.” He receives therapy for his disorder, ESPN reported.

In a prior statement, the Jaguars said, “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.”

Representatives from the Jaguars, FanDuel, and the NFL continue to meet to reach a “settlement” in the case, according to ESPN.

The way they [Fan Duel] see it … we got this money fair and clear. It’s not our problem that we have to forfeit it back to you,” an unnamed source told ESPN.

Under the law, FanDuel must make sure money spent on its website was obtained properly, the DailyMail.com reported.