Former Jacksonville Jaguars Employee Faces Federal Wire Fraud Charges
Stealing from your employer can mean more than losing your job. You could also face serious criminal charges. Indeed, if you use any means of interstate communication, such as the Internet, to steal from or defraud your employer, federal prosecutors can charge you with wire fraud. This is one of the most commonly prosecuted white collar crimes in the United States and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Ex-Financial Manager Accused of Spending Team Funds on Personal Items
You may have recently seen news headlines about a former Jacksonville Jaguars employee charged with wire fraud. According to a criminal information filed on December 4, 2023, by the United States Attorney’s office in Jacksonville, the accused allegedly stole over $22 million from the Jaguars during the term of his employment. The defendant was a “financial employee” of the Jaguars, according to an ESPN report on the case. The criminal information said the defendant’s role with the Jaguars–identified as “Business A” in court documents–included preparing the NFL team’s monthly financial statements, overseeing its budget, and administering its “virtual credit card” (VCC) program.
A VCC program enables the employees of a business to pay for business-related purchases and expenses without the need for a physical credit card. According to the government, the defendant was the sole administrator of the Jaguars’ VCC program starting in October 2019. He allegedly used that authority to “charge approximately $22,221,454.40 in fraudulent VCC transactions” between September 2019 and February 2023. Prosecutors claim the defendant used these fraudulent charges to gamble online, purchase a condo and a new Tesla, and buy cryptocurrency, among other expenditures. The information cited one alleged transaction where the defendant paid nearly $95,000 to buy a luxury wristwatch from an online store based in California.
This is a critical detail, because using stolen funds to pay for merchandise over the Internet is a form of wire fraud. So is using your employer’s email system to facilitate fraudulent VCC transactions, as the government has alleged here. The information itself charges the defendant with both wire fraud and engaging in an illegal monetary transaction with respect to the purchase of the watch.
The Jacksonville Jaguars told ESPN they terminated the defendant’s employment in February 2023 and that they have “cooperated fully with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office” in its investigation and prosecution of the defendant. According to a December 12 report in The Athletic, the defendant planned to enter a guilty plea at a court appearance scheduled for December 14, 2023.
Contact the Joshi Law Firm Today
As noted above, the maximum penalty for federal wire fraud is 20 years in prison. Now, few defendants actually serve that length of time. Federal sentencing is actually quite complex. So even if you are looking to plead guilty to a federal charge it is still in your best interest to work with an experienced Orlando white collar crime attorney to advise and represent you in the sentencing process. Contact the Joshi Law Firm, PA, today at 407-661-1109 to schedule a free consultation.