Skip to main content
Press Release

Ponte Vedra Beach Man Pleads Guilty To Defrauding His Former Employer Out Of Over $22 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Jacksonville, Florida –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Amit Patel (31, Ponte Vedra Beach) has waived indictment by a grand jury and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and engaging in an illegal monetary transaction. Patel faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Patel operated a fraud scheme through which he embezzled approximately $22,221,454 from his employer, a business headquartered in Jacksonville (“Business A”). Specifically, Patel used his role as the administrator for Business A’s virtual credit card (VCC) program to make hundreds of purchases and transactions with no legitimate business purpose. Then, to hide and continue to operate the scheme, rather than accurately report his VCC transactions, Patel created accounting files that contained numerous false and fraudulent entries and emailed them to Business A’s accounting department. Patel used a variety of methods to hide his illicit transactions by omitting them from the files, while still having the total dollar amount of VCC expenditures match the balances paid by Business A for the VCC program line of credit. For example, to hide his fraudulent VCC transactions, Patel identified legitimate reoccurring VCC transactions, such as catering, airfare, and hotel charges, and then duplicated those transactions; he inflated the amounts of legitimate reoccurring VCC transactions; he entered completely fictitious transactions that might sound plausible, but that never actually occurred; and he moved legitimate VCC charges from upcoming months into the month of the accounting file that was immediately due to the accounting department.

Patel began making fraudulent transactions in September 2019 and continued until he was fired by Business A in February 2023. He used the proceeds of this scheme, in whole or part, to place bets with online gambling websites, to purchase a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to pay for personal travel for himself and friends (including chartering private jets and booking luxury hotels and private rental residences), to acquire a new Tesla Model 3 sedan and Nissan pickup truck, to pay a criminal defense law firm, and to purchase cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens, electronics, sports memorabilia, a country club membership, spa treatments, concert and sporting event tickets, home furnishings, and luxury wrist watches.

As part of his plea agreement, Patel has agreed to forfeit $22,221,454.40, the proceeds of the wire fraud, as well as a condominium in Ponte Vedra Beach, a 2021 Telsa Model 3 sedan, and a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch that he purchased or funded with the proceeds. He also agreed to pay full restitution to his former employer.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brenna Falzetta and Michael J. Coolican. The asset forfeiture is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Mai Tran.

Updated December 15, 2023

Financial Fraud