Jaguars sue Amit Patel, ex-employee who stole funds

The Jacksonville Jaguars sued their former employee who stole $22 million from the team in Florida state court Thursday for $66.6 million in damages.

Amit Patel, who oversaw the team's virtual credit card program, pleaded guilty in federal court in December to stealing more than $22 million from the team over a 3½-year period to pay off gambling debts and fund a life of luxury. In Thursday's filing, the team said that Patel stole the bulk of that money, $20 million, in just eight months.

In the lawsuit, the team alleged fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and civil theft. The claims are largely based on Patel's admissions in federal court.

Patel's lawyer, Alex King, did not immediately respond to ESPN's request for comment.

According to Negin Kordbacheh, an attorney who practices business law in Florida, if the Jaguars prevail in court, it will allow the team more flexibility to recover the stolen funds from Patel without relying on the federal government to act on its behalf. The team could seize assets that Patel acquired legally. Florida allows plaintiffs to recover up to three times the amount of actual damages.

"[A] civil lawsuit allows the victim to control the litigation process," Kordbacheh said. "There's also asset recovery. They can garnish wages, seize assets, et cetera. These are obviously tools that are very important for making sure that the victim receives full compensation."

According to court documents, Patel transferred $20 million of the funds to FanDuel, where he had a VIP host, and $1 million to DraftKings. ESPN has previously reported that Patel was a high-volume, high-stakes daily fantasy sports player known for racking up big losses. Patel has said that he suffers from a gambling disorder.

According to the filing, Patel's scheme was discovered in February 2023 after he placed a sports bet in Kansas, violating both state law and the NFL's gambling policy.

He also transferred $5 million from his FanDuel and DraftKings accounts to his PayPal and other personal accounts, prosecutors said, and used it on a variety of purchases to live a "life of luxury," including purchasing Tiger Woods' 1996 putter and spending $78,800 on private jet charters.

As ESPN has previously reported, the Jaguars have asked FanDuel to reimburse some or all of the $20 million. The Jaguars declined to comment on the status of those talks.

Patel is currently serving a 6½-year sentence at Williamsburg federal prison in South Carolina.

According to Kordbacheh, the Jaguars have a high likelihood of success in their civil suit against Patel since the burden of proof is lower compared to a criminal case, where Patel already pleaded guilty.