Westchester native and WFAN sports talk personality Craig Carton vehemently denied that he was engaged in an alleged Ponzi scheme tied to a fake ticket scam during his first radio appearance nearly a year after he was charged in federal court.
The 48-year-old Carton, who grew up in New Rochelle, has been charged with wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy for his role in the scheme, which was allegedly aimed with an eye toward clearing gambling debt. His tiral is scheduled to begin on Oct. 29.
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 this week, 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 the New York Daily News, which reported 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.
The $5.6 million scam was put in place in order to pay off Carton's gambling debts, according to the New York Daily News. Court papers allege Carton ran up millions of dollars in losses with two casinos, plus a debt of $825,000 to an unidentified individual, the Daily News said.
Carton, his accomplice Michael 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," said a statement from prosecutors.
"It's very scary, it's the fight of my life but I'll tell you what I said the day I got arrested, which was Sept. 6 almost a year ago to the day, and that is I'm not guilty,” Carton told WABC. “I look forward to my opportunity to lay it out for everybody. I wish I could have, I regret that I didn't early on, but when you hire good lawyers and they tell you what to do there are times to shut your mouth and do what the lawyers tell you to do.”
During his interview, Carton took a shot at his former employer and former show, now dubbed “Boomer and Gio.”
“Take any show on FAN and bring them here (WABC), they’re not going to beat anyone over there anyway,” Carton said. “You can put an intern on the air, which it seems like (WFAN) kind of did. While ratings have dropped 40 percent, they’re still going to do reasonably well.”
Carton says he’s innocent of the charges and will be exonerated in court. He also says that he expects several offers if he is cleared of the charges.
“Ego-wise I believe I will have multiple people come to me, and I hope they do. But when it comes out that I’m exonerated and the jury says not guilty, why wouldn’t you want to bring back the guy that was the most listened-to morning show in New York? Do I want to be back on New York radio? You bet (expletive deleted) I do.”
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