A former financial manager for the NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars has been accused of stealing more than $22 million from the team through its virtual credit card program.
According to a seven-page court filing, Patel worked for the Jaguars for five years starting in 2018 and is charged with one count of wire fraud as well as one instance of illegal money transaction in documents filed in US District Court in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars confirmed that they are referred to as ‘Business A’ and the victim in the documents. In February 2023, the team terminated Patel’s employment.
They have fully cooperated with the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida during their investigation.
The team hired experienced law and accounting firms to conduct a comprehensive independent review, which concluded that no other team employees were involved in or aware of Patel’s criminal activity.
Patel is accused of using the money to purchase a Tesla and Nissan pickup truck, a condominium in nearby Ponte Vedra Beach, a designer watch for $95,000, cryptocurrency, and place bets with online gambling sites.
Ex-Jaguars Manager Accused of Lavish Spending and Fraud
He also allegedly used the money to buy sports memorabilia, a country club membership, spa treatments, and tickets to sporting events and concerts. Patel chartered private jets for himself and friends and lodged a retainer with a criminal defense law firm.
Patel’s attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Patel is listed in the Jaguars’ media guides from 2018 to 22.
His titles during those years were coordinator, financial planning and analysis, and then manager, financial planning and analysis.
Patel oversaw the company’s monthly financial statements and department budgets and served as the club’s administrator of its virtual credit card program, which, according to the filing, allowed authorized employees to ‘request VCCs for business-related purchases or expenses.’
Patel’s authority over the VCC program allowed him to make the fraudulent transactions, the filing said.
He allegedly duplicated and inflated transactions for items such as catering, airfare, and hotel charges and filed fake transactions that seemed legit.
If convicted, Patel may be required to forfeit property and assets purchased or funded with the proceeds.
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