Sports

Ex-Jaguars Staffer Reportedly Sentenced To 6 Years In Prison For $22 Million Theft From Team

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Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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Amit Patel was sentenced to 78 months in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to a massive fraud that siphoned more than $22 million from the NFL team, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Patel was given 6 years prison sentence in a Jacksonville federal courtroom, according to the AP. The 31-year-old former employee of the Jacksonville Jaguars reportedly used to manage finances for the team.  He admitted to fraud that took over $22 million from the NFL team, the outlet reported. His crime reportedly involved misusing the team’s virtual credit card program and included wire fraud and illegal money transactions, which he confessed to last December.

Patel displayed no visible reaction as Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. delivered the sentence, which also included three years of supervised release post-imprisonment, the AP reported. The court was reportedly informed that Patel had already returned $1.89 million but still owed over $21 million in restitution, a sum the judge noted Patel is unlikely to ever repay due to the felony conviction. Despite pleas for a reduced sentence of no more than 60 months from Patel’s defense, prosecutors pointed out the complexity of Patel’s fraud, according to the outlet. It reportedly remained unnoticed for more than three years and involved hundreds of false transactions.

“If he can steal $22 million and get probation, he’s going to do it again,” assistant U.S. attorney Michael J. Coolican stated, according to the AP. “He’s a smart guy and will find a way. … If it’s reported on SportsCenter tonight you can steal $22 million and get a low-ball sentence, a slap on the wrist, you better watch out.” (RELATED: Convicted Child Sex Offender Found Guilty Of Remotely Hacking NFL Team’s Jumbotron After Team Fired Him)

Chief legal official for the Jaguars Megha Parekh expressed a desire to move forward and forgive, while also acknowledging the betrayal’s emotional toll on the organization, the outlet reported.

“Speaking on behalf of the Jaguars, do know that we want to move on and forgive, not just Amit, but ourselves for trusting him only to watch him shame us, individually and collectively,” Parekh reportedly stated. “We are proud of our employees for how they weathered through the mess he made. But make no mistake, Amit broke our hearts.”

Patel cried while listening to his brother discuss his struggles with drinking and gambling, the AP reported. The convicted felon’s uncle then reportedly described the negative impact of his potential imprisonment on his widowed mother. His girlfriend talked about her constant support, including going to weekly addiction meetings and becoming an Uber driver to assist, according to the outlet.

“I stand before you embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed for my actions,” he said, the AP reported. “It began small and then snowballed so big that my only thought was to gamble my way out of it. In the end, I always thought that big win was right around the corner and would fix all my problems.”