New York, Feb 5 (IANS) Florida-based football team Jacksonville Jaguars has asked sports betting firm FanDuel to return some or all of the nearly $20 million in stolen revenue that its former employee of Indian origin lost to the site.
Amit Patel, manager of financial planning and analytics for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2018 to 2023, misused the team’s virtual credit card (VCC) program to steal $22 million.
According to ESPN, Patel lost about $20 million of the funds in daily fantasy and sports betting to FanDuel, which had assigned him a VIP host.
Patel transferred money directly from the VCC team to FanDuel, which the latter is not willing to pay, the sports channel reported, citing sources.
“The way they (FanDuel) see it … we have that money fair and square. It’s not our problem that we have to give it back to you,” a source said, adding that there are discussions between FanDuel, the Jaguars , and the National Football League (NFL).
Patel was a high-betting, high-volume daily fantasy player on FanDuel and DraftKings, both official betting partners of the NFL, according to online records.
In December, he was charged with wire fraud and illegal monetary transactions in court documents filed by the U.S. District Court in Florida.
Among other things, Patel allegedly used the stolen money to buy a condo in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; acquiring a new Tesla Model 3 sedan, a Nissan pickup, and a wristwatch that cost more than $95,000.
Patel’s lawyer, in a Dec. 7 statement, denied that Patel funded his lifestyle with the stolen money and said his house and car were either bought with the family or earned by him .
He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced on March 12.
Sources told ESPN that FanDuel alerted the NFL to Patel’s bets in January 2023 after he placed traditional sports bets in Tennessee.
The Jaguars remained unaware of Patel’s scheming until they were notified by the NFL.
“Gambling sites have an obligation to carry out ‘Anti-Money Laundering’ and ‘Know Your Customer’ procedures to ensure they do not incorporate funds of illicit origin,” Stephen Bell, an attorney, told ESPN.
During a court appearance last year, Patel said he has a “gaming disorder” and sees a therapist weekly for treatment.
He also received treatment for alcohol and substance abuse from March to June last year.