Craig Carton Sentenced To 42 Months For Ticket Scheme

April 05, 2019 - 2:27 pm
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By WFAN.com

Former WFAN morning show host Craig Carton was sentenced to 42 months in prison Friday for running a fraudulent ticket-resale business that duped investors out of millions of dollars.

The sentence, which includes three years of probation, 150 hours of community service and $4.8 million in restitution, was handed down by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan federal court. Carton, 50, faced up to 45 years behind bars, and prosecutors had recommended five to seven years.

Carton, who co-hosted the "Boomer and Carton" show from 2007 to 2017 with former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, was convicted in November of conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud. Carton resigned from WFAN following his September 2017 arrest.

Related: 'Boomer & Gio': Esiason, Others Address Craig Carton Conviction

Prosecutors said he spent $5.6 million of investor money on personal expenses, including gambling debts.

In addressing the judge, Carton said his crimes were triggered by "demons" and that he was "truly powerless over this (gambling) disease."

He also said he turned to gambling to help him deal with sexual abuse he suffered as a child, emotional wounds he said were reopened by the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State.

Craig Carton
Getty Images

Carton argued that being spared prison time would have allowed him to repay his victims and seek further treatment. 

"Putting me in prison accomplishes nothing," Carton said, according to Law 360's Pete Brush. "It doesn't make society a safer place. It makes me disappear.

"Should you show me that mercy, you will not regret it."

Carton's attorney Derrelle Janey noted that Carton has performed extensive charity work and argued that his celebrity status could be used to warn people about the dangers of gambling.

Ninety letters of support for Carton were reportedly submitted to the judge, including from Esiason, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost.

McMahon, a regular listener to Carton's show, began her comments with a joke, describing herself as "Colleen from New York. First time, long time."

But then she told Carton "you have descended into a hell of your own making" and that "a gambling addiction is not an excuse for stealing."

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman issued a statement explaining Carton's crime.

“Radio personality Craig Carton solicited investments for his ticket buying scheme by claiming to have an in with the operator of two New York-area arenas and a major concert promotion company," he said. "He talked of his ability to buy blocks of tickets to live events and sell them for a profit on the secondary market.  But the talk-show host was all talk.  Carton’s purported agreements to buy blocks of tickets were part of an elaborate fiction. Today he has learned that the price of defrauding investors is a term in prison.”

Carton filmed a five-minute video to be released to the public following his sentencing that describes his gambling addiction, the New York Post reported Friday.

"I borrowed over $30 million to gamble with," Carton says in the video, titled "The Reckoning," according to the Post. "Helicopters, private jets, vacations. I had it all at my disposal because I was wagering obscene amounts of money.

"And I didn’t care. I had a huge ego when it came to my ability to play blackjack. I was wagering 10, 20 thousand dollars a hand just a few hours before I was supposed to do a radio show.

Carton, who has four children, added that unlike drinking or drugs, it was easier to hide his addiction from his family and friends. He also said he placed his last bet in June 2018, nine months after he was arrested. He says he is now seeking help through Gambler’s Anonymous.

"At the time of this taping I’m awaiting sentencing," Carton says. "I threw it all away. It has cost me everything. My relationship with my wife, who I'm legally separated from now. I’m bankrupt. I’m about to be homeless."

Esiason discussed Carton's situation on Friday's "Boomer and Gio," the show he co-hosts with Carton's replacement, Gregg Giannotti.

"For nine and a half years, I worked with him and never saw that side of it," Esiason said. "I always saw a crazy guy who came in here and gave his all to put on a four-hour show to entertain everybody, including yours truly and I think the guys who worked with him."

Esiason called Friday "a sad day for all of us that are associated with him."

"Hopefully, the victims that were a part of this sad situation get some restitution," he said. " ... And then, of course, our hearts and prayers go I think out to his family."

Esiason added that Carton mentioned on the air many times over the years that his biggest fear was going to jail.

To listen to Boomer and Gio's discussion of Carton's situation, click on the audio player above.