Former sports talk host Craig Carton sentenced 3 1/2 years in ticket scam

Craig Carton, right, the former co-host of a sports radio show with ex-NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, arrives at federal court to be sentenced for defrauding investors in a ticket reselling business, Friday, April 5, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Craig Carton, right, the former co-host of a sports radio show with ex-NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. (AP)

Former sports talk show host Craig Carton was sentenced to nearly four years in prison Friday after being found guilty of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that involved a fraudulent ticket resell business.

Carton hosted the “Boomer & Carton” sports talk radio show on WFAN in New York with Boomer Esiason. He was found guilty in November for “using deceit” to raise money, buy blocks of tickets, and resell them at a profit. Prosecutors proved he used the money instead to pay off casinos and gambling debts.

Carton convicted of conspiracy, fraud

The 50-year-old WFAN superstar was found guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud. He and partners Michael Wright and Joseph Meli were found to have used money from investors to pay casinos, gambling debts and even a landscaper who worked on Carton’s home.

The money was intended, Carton said, to be used in buying blocks of tickets to top-tier shows such as Adele. Investors would see more money when he resold the tickets.

Instead he used $4.6 million of the $7 million for his own gain, prosecutors successfully argued.

‘Descended into a hell of your own making’

Carton was in Manhattan federal court and had a fan in Judge Colleen McMahon, who greeted him with the famous radio call-in “Colleen from New York. First time, long time,” according to the New York Post.

She then told him he had “descended into a hell of your own making.”

Carton faced up to 45 years, but was expected to get far less per federal guidelines, per the Post. His 3 1/2 year sentence is less than the five and seven years prosecutors requested.

Carton: ‘I’m a gambling addict’

Carton reportedly told the judge he was “truly powerless over this [gambling] disease” and asked for a no-prison sentence. He also claimed, per the Post, to be abused as a child, which led him to gambling in an attempt to “escape the pain.”

Friday morning Phil Mushnick at the New York Post released a look at a video starring Carton titled “The Reckoning.” Carton asked it be released Friday after his sentencing.

It provides a look at his gambling habits, which included borrowing $30 million and throwing down tens of thousands at a time playing blackjack. He details the moment he realized he had a problem: his 7-year-old drew three casinos when a teacher asked students to draw their favorite places.

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