The Jacksonville Jaguars are seeking reimbursement from FanDuel for approximately $20 million lost on the platform by a former employee. The ex-employee, Amit Patel, who was a finance manager for the Jaguars, pleaded guilty to embezzling $22 million through the team’s virtual credit card system. Patel reportedly lost around $20 million of the misappropriated funds on daily fantasy and sports bets at FanDuel, with an additional $1 million on DraftKings.
The embezzlement occurred over a span of three and a half years, and Patel now faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. FanDuel alerted the NFL to Patel’s betting activities in January 2023, which led to the discovery of the embezzlement scheme. Online records show that Patel engaged in extensive high-stakes and high-volume daily fantasy play on FanDuel and DraftKings, incurring significant losses.
Patel’s extravagant lifestyle during his time with the Jaguars, including chartering private jets and staying in luxury hotels, has raised allegations that he funded his lifestyle with stolen money. However, Patel’s attorney denies these allegations, attributing his actions to a misguided effort to pay back previous gambling losses. Patel has acknowledged a gambling disorder and is undergoing therapy.
Discussions with FanDuel, the Jaguars, and the NFL are ongoing for a potential settlement to recoup the losses. However, legal experts note that FanDuel has an obligation under federal law to ensure that funds used for sports betting are legally obtained. While the legal status of daily fantasy regulations is unclear, gambling sites must still perform anti-money laundering and know-your-client procedures.
The outcome of discussions between the Jaguars and FanDuel will likely have implications for future handling of misappropriated funds involving online gambling platforms and the responsibilities of operators in such cases. This case sheds light on the legal challenges of enforcing regulatory compliance and responsible gambling practices in the industry.