Craig Carton facing 45 years in prison.
Craig Carton, the former co-host of WFAN's sports talk morning show "Boomer & Carton," was convicted by a federal jury in New York on Wednesday on all criminal counts connected to a multi-million-dollar fake ticket scam. Carton was arrested on September 6, 2017 and resigned from the program just days after.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Carton and another defendant, Michael Write, ran a Ponzi scheme in which they solicited investments in enterprises that they said would buy and sell concert tickets, but the money was instead used to pay personal debts, including Carton's enormous gambling debts, and earlier investors.
According to the New York Post:
After less than a day of deliberations, the jury of three men and nine women found Carton guilty on all counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Carton looked straight ahead as the jury read the verdict.
The roughly one-week trial included testimony from hedge fund executives who said they gave Carton millions as an investment in bulk event tickets, including a national tour by Metallica and two Barbara Streisand concerts. Documents showed that the money instead went off to pay Carton's personal expenses, including his gambling loans.
At the time, Carton was spending big bucks at casinos -- even borrowing money from loan sharks to fund his casino trips, according to witness testimony.
One of those loan sharks was Desmond Finger, a general manager of Upper East Side strip club Sapphire 39, who told the jury he gave Carton several short-term, high-interest loans to finance his casino trips in 2016 and 2017. Finger lost money in 2017, however, when Carton failed to make good on a $500,000 loan, the strip club manager testified.
The feds also submitted as evidence doctored emails by Carton, including one he pretended was from Fred Mangione, chief of staff of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Barclays Center and the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The allegedly fake Mangione email included minor mistakes in Mangione’s signature section of his email, including listing his title as “Chief of Staff” instead of “Chief Of Staff,” the government’s evidence showed.
Although Carton maintained his innocence leading into the trail, his defense admitted that he lied to investors about how their money would be used, arguing that it wasn't a crime so long as they were eventually refunded.
Law360 reports that Judge McMahon set a February 27 sentencing date. Carton, 49, faces a maximum of 45 years behind bars if convicted. His co-defendant Michael Wright has already pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison. A third co-defendant, Joseph Meli, is also locked up having pled guilty to a separate ticket-investment Ponzi scheme.