Former 610WIP weekend radio host Craig Carton, 48, who has cohosted the Boomer and Carton show on WFAN in New York since 2007, was arrested early Wednesday on investment-related fraud charges, allegedly for bilking people out of $5.6 million, according to federal prosecutors.
The charges stemmed from a fake-ticket scam that Carton and business partner Michael Wright allegedly ran. In a plot that sounds like something out of Mel Brooks' The Producers, the two allegedly operated a discount-ticket broker business that didn't exist.
The New York Daily News reported that Carton began the scam after running up millions in gambling debts to casinos and to an unnamed individual.
Carton's "business" involved reselling tickets to popular concerts, but he had no agreements with concert promoters or venues to get the tickets, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged.
"As alleged, Craig Carton and Michael Wright deceived investors and raised millions of dollars through misrepresentation and outright lies," acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement. "Their schemes were allegedly propped up by phony contracts with two companies to purchase blocks of concert tickets, when in fact, Carton and Wright had no deals to purchase any tickets at all. As alleged, behind all the talk, the Wright and Carson show was just a sham, designed to fleece investors out of millions ultimately to be spent on payments to casinos and to pay off other personal debt."
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: "Carton and Wright thought they could get off easy by allegedly paying off their debts with other people's money. They then attempted to pay off investors with money that would eventually become future debt, as alleged. We see this time and time again, the rise and fall of a Ponzi scheme destined for failure. The truth is, the time will come when your luck runs out. Unfortunately for those arrested today, that time is now."
NBC4 reported that Carton was arrested at his Manhattan home.
"We are aware of the situation and are cooperating with authorities," WIP owner CBS Radio said in a statement. Carton's radio partner Boomer Esiason thought his co-host had called in sick Wednesday morning.
Carton worked at WIP in the mid-late 1990s, primarily as a weekend host, when he was in his 20s, and was known as "The Kid."
In 1994, Carton was first to report that Jeffrey Lurie had purchased the Eagles, according to Merrill Reese's autobiography, It's Gooooood!. In 1997, Carton said on the air that Flyers star Eric Lindros had missed a game because he was hung over. The statement was never disproved, but the Flyers sued WIP. The case was settled out of court.