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Former Jaguars employee could face up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $22 million from team

By Ben Morse and Jamiel Lynch, CNN

(CNN) — A former Jacksonville Jaguars employee could face up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to financial crimes which included stealing more than $22 million from the NFL team.

Amit Patel pleaded guilty to felony charges of wire fraud and illegal monetary transaction in US District Court in Jacksonville on Thursday.

According to the plea agreement filed, the charge of wire fraud comes with a maximum penalty of a term of imprisonment of no more than 20 years, while the charge of illegal monetary transaction comes with a maximum penalty of a term of imprisonment of no more than 10 years.

Cumulatively, that could result in a possible 30-year prison sentence for Patel. He could also face a fine of no more than $500,000.

Patel was released on a $10,000 bond until his sentencing date, court document show.

As previously reported by CNN, Patel was accused of wire fraud and illegal monetary transaction, stealing millions via the team’s virtual credit card (VCC) system over a four-year period, according to court documents filed last week.

In the filing, Patel is said to have been the sole administrator for the Jaguars’ VCC system. A VCC system works similarly to a traditional credit card account, but without a physical card.

Between September 2019 and February 2023 – when he was fired by the team – it’s alleged that Patel created an elaborate scheme to siphon money while avoiding detection.

The court filing said Patel used the money to fund online gambling, pay for private travel and accommodation for himself and friends as well as sporting tickets, acquire a new Tesla car, Nissan pickup truck, purchase cryptocurrency and buy a property in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

He is also alleged to have bought a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch – worth over $95,000 – paying the entire price with “proceeds of his fraud scheme.”

However, Patel’s attorney Alex King refutes those allegations, saying Patel’s lifestyle was paid for legitimately.

King also added that Patel is “deeply remorseful and apologizes for his conduct” and that his client suffers from a “serious gambling addiction” for which he is receiving professional treatment.

CNN has reached out to Patel’s attorney for comment on his guilty plea.

When approached by CNN for comment, Jacksonville Jaguars pointed to its previous two statements on the matter, including the most recent sent on Monday.

“As noted previously and as described in the charges against him, this individual took advantage of his trusted position to covertly and intentionally commit significant fraudulent financial activity at the team’s expense for personal benefit,” the team said.

“The team engaged experienced law and accounting firms to conduct a comprehensive independent review, which concluded that no other team employees were involved in or aware of his criminal activity.

“With the assistance of external experts, it has extensively reviewed its own policies and procedures, added staff to its finance department, and taken other measures to ensure the integrity of its financial controls.”

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