Judge Sentences Ex-Jaguars Manager to 78 Months in Prison for Fraud

  • Amit Patel embezzled over $22m from the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Patel covered up hundreds of VCC purchases to fund his gambling, luxury lifestyle
  • Patel told the judge he’d started gambling 14 years ago while in high school
Jacksonville Jaguars sign
A judge sentenced ex-Jacksonville Jaguars finance manager Amit Patel to 108 months in prison for embezzling over $22m from the team. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Gambling addiction

US District Judge Henry L. Adams has sentenced a former finance manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars to six years, six months in federal prison for embezzling over $22m from the NFL franchise to bankroll his gambling addiction.

Judge Adams sentenced Amit Patel, 31, on Tuesday for wire fraud and an illegal monetary transaction. The US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida (USAO-MDFL) took to X to share the sentencing news:

Besides serving 78 months behind bars, Patel will need to pony up $21,132,454 in restitution plus undergo supervised release for three years once he’s served his time.

Assistant US Attorney Michael Coolican, however, wanted Patel to serve seven years in prison. He stated in a sentencing memo that Patel “undoubtedly loves to gamble and lost the bulk of the money that he stole doing it … But he also likes to live well and have other people pay for it.”

A high-profile crime

Patel, a Jacksonville native, pleaded guilty in December to the mass fraud of his employer, the Jaguars, where he worked as Financial Planning and Analysis Manager.

He used the team’s virtual credit card (VCC) program to start embezzling from the organization on September 19, 2019. Up until the Jags fired him in February 2023, Patel covered up hundreds of purchases and transactions in monthly tracking reports and used the stolen millions to fund his gambling addiction and luxury lifestyle.

Despite Patel’s attorney Alex King stating that “99% of the misappropriated funds” had to do with gambling”, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Coolican pointed to other purchases such as a Tesla Model 3 sedan, event tickets, and $95,000 watch in the defendant’s pursuit of “a life of luxury.”

According to the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, Coolican argued that the media attention around Patel’s case might prompt other copycat crimes.

We’re going to see a lot more Amit Patels”

“If it’s reported on SportsCenter tonight that you can steal $22m and get a lowball sentence, we’d better look out,” the prosecutor told the judge. “We’re going to see a lot more Amit Patels.”

Coming clean

During Tuesday’s sentencing, Patel told Judge Adams he was “embarrassed and ashamed” by his actions and that he’d started gambling 14 years ago while attending high school.

Patel added he loved working for his hometown NFL franchise but “in the end I always thought the next big win would solve my problems.”

He was our teammate and he betrayed us.”

The Jaguars’ Chief Legal Officer Megha Parekh told the judge his franchise takes “no joy” in Patel’s punishment, but that the former employee caused a lot of pain. “We gave him his dream job. We trusted him. He was our teammate and he betrayed us.”

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