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Ex-employee charged with stealing $22M from Jacksonville Jaguars for luxury shopping spree

Prosecutors have charged a former employee of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars with stealing $22 million from the team and spending it on a condo, cars, cryptocurrencies, gambling, a $95,000 watch and more.

According to documents filed Monday in the Jacksonville division of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Amit Patel had sole authority to approve charges to the team’s virtual credit card, a charge account that doesn’t require a physical credit card.

Prosecutors say Patel made $22.2 million in fraudulent charges from September 2019 to his firing in February, and altered documents to cover up his spending. He’s charged with wire fraud and making an illegal monetary transaction.

While Patel was only allowed to use the virtual credit card for business expenses, prosecutors say he charged the team for such items as a condo in the wealthy suburb of Ponte Vedra Beach valued at $265,830; a $95,484 Patek Philippe Nautilus watch bought from an online luxury consignment shop; a Tesla Model 3 sedan; a Nissan pickup truck; as well as cryptocurrencies, NFTs, online gambling, sports memorabilia, concert and sporting event tickets, private jet travel, luxury hotel bookings, private residence rentals, a country club membership, spa trips and the retainer fee for a criminal defense law firm.

Patel’s attorney did not immediately respond to an interview request.

Team media guides show that the team hired Patel in 2018. His initial job title was coordinator, financial planning and analysis. He later became a manager in the same department.

The Jaguars were identified only as ‘Business A’ in the charging documents, but the franchise acknowledged in a statement that it was Patel’s former employer.

‘This individual was a former manager of financial planning and analysis who took advantage of his trusted position to covertly and intentionally commit significant fraudulent financial activity at the team’s expense for personal benefit. This individual had no access to confidential football strategy, personnel or other football information,’ the team said.

The Jaguars also say that they have been cooperating with the FBI, and that law and accounting firms have concluded that no other employees were involved in the alleged scheme.

This post appeared first on NBC NEWS

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