Amit Patel allegedly stole more than $22 million from the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars from 2019-23. Patel, a Jaguars employee for five years beginning in 2018, didn’t deny the alleged financial theft, but rather in a press release from his attorney cited gambling addiction as the cause of his actions.
Patel’s attorney, Alex King, shared the statement Thursday about Patel’s actions. The press release states that Patel used the Jaguars’ virtual credit card program to fund his gambling habits, which included extensive losses playing daily fantasy sports on both FanDuel and DraftKings.
The statement says that “approximately 99% of funds misappropriated from the Jaguars’ VCC were gambling losses, almost all of which occurred on those two websites.”
NFL officials met with Patel about his gambling spending in February, and he was fired from the Jaguars’ organization that same month.
Patel is scheduled to appear in federal court on Wednesday, and he intends to enter a plea of guilty, according to King.
NFL gambling policy
Not only have Patel’s actions brought legal troubles, but his wagering is also a violation of NFL policy. While players are allowed to wager on some sporting events, the NFL doesn’t allow league and team personnel to wager on sports or play daily fantasy games.
Patel violated those rules by playing daily fantasy sports regularly. Several NFL players — perhaps most notably the Colts’ Isaiah Rodgers — were suspended this offseason for also breaking NFL gambling policies. The league also shares responsible gambling information with players and teams.
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An NFL spokesperson told ESPN that an investigation into Patel’s wagering found no inside information being used or any game integrity issues created by his betting.
Some reports suggested Patel used money from the organization’s VCC program to fund other extravagant purchasing habits. His attorney disputed those claims.
“Mr. Patel did not use the Jaguars’ VCC to fund his lifestyle, but in a horribly misguided effort to pay back previous gambling losses that utilized the Jaguars’ VCC program,” King’s statement said.
King said that Patel began seeking treatment for a gambling addiction in the spring. He’s continuing to receive treatment.
“Mr. Patel remains in treatment and recovery for his gambling addiction and intends to seek ongoing treatment for the foreseeable future,” the statement said. “To further those efforts, he has founded Round Robin Recovery LLC to assist others struggling with gambling addiction and continues to be active in the treatment community.”