After just a weeklong trial, former WFAN sports talk personality and Westchester native Craig Carton has been found guilty on all counts in his fraud trial.
The 49-year-old Carton, who grew up in New Rochelle, was found guilty of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy for his role in a Ponzi scheme, which was aimed with an eye toward clearing gambling debt. The scheme was tied to a fake ticket scam.
The trial kicked off last week on Oct. 31. Carton now faces up to 45 years in prison following the conviction. He remains released on bail.
“The government is dead wrong. The government has been dead wrong from the time they arrested Craig Carton,” an attorney for the radio personality said. “He never intended to steal anyone’s money. He never thought it would cause any harm.”
According to reports, Carton opted against testifying in court and closing statements were offered on Tuesday afternoon. The jury couldn't reach a conclusion on Tuesday but offered the guilty verdict on Wednesday.
In his opening statement last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan Quigley said that Carton diverted the money to pay for gambling debt and personal expenses. Carton’s lawyers have repeatedly stated that he is the victim of an alleged con man. Carton has pleaded not guilty.
“Carton used that money as his personal piggy bank,” Quigley said, according to a New York Daily News report. Carton’s defense team has stated that prosecutors have the case “all wrong,” calling the business “a real, legitimate, licensed ticket resale business.”
Carton co-hosted the “Boomer and Carton” morning show for a decade alongside retired NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason. He was a guest on WABC's "Sid & Bernie" show in September, marking his first radio appearance since leaving WFAN and denying the alleged ticket-resale scam was illegal.
“I recognize that it's an uphill battle, cause they typically win, but you hear all the time about how they have a 98 percent conviction rate,” Carton told host Sid Rosenberg, referring to the Southern District Attorney of New York. ”Well, that includes plea bargains. When you plea, you’re pleading guilty to something that counts as a conviction.
"I'm not pleading to anything because I firmly believe that when the facts come out you'll see that I was running a legitimate legal business. I think my case stands up on its own merit."
According to authorities, Carton and co-defendant Michael Wright allegedly ripped off investors of as much as $4.6 million in the Ponzi scheme.
The scam was put in place in order to pay off Carton's gambling debts, according to reports, which state that court papers allege Carton ran up millions of dollars in losses with two casinos, plus a debt of $825,000 to an unidentified individual.
Carton, Wright and a third party allegedly worked together to "induce investors to provide them with millions of dollars — based on representations that the investor funds would be used to purchase blocks of tickets to concerts — which would then be re-sold on the secondary market," according to his prosecutors.
Carton currently has a show on the FNTSY Sports Network called “Carton & Friends.”
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