Craig Carton’s “severe gambling addiction” should be taken into account when a federal judge considers a punishment for his fraud conviction, attorneys for the former sports radio personality argued on Friday.
Carton, 50, was convicted last year of securities fraud and defrauding investors in a bulk ticket business he was operating with Michael Wright, who also pleaded guilty in the $2 million scheme.
His attorneys explain in their sentencing submission filings that Carton “gambled prolifically” at various casinos and that he would seek investors and loans to fuel his addiction.
At one point, he borrowed $8 million to cover gambling debts.
“I was actually building a real business and really buying and selling concert tickets, over four thousand tickets to be exact, but at the same time I was becoming enslaved by my desire and addiction to gamble,” Carton says in a letter to Manhattan Federal Judge Colleen McMahon.
“The result: I did not use monies entrusted to me and my company to buy tickets when I told people I would actually be buying tickets. I often used that money for gambling.”
Carton could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison, though it is unlikely he would do that much time.
Prosecutors argued that Carton used his celebrity to lure investors into the ticket business.
They added that Carton, who co-hosted a morning sports talk show with retired NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, should receive between 21 and 27 months in prison for his role in the scheme.
Carton began seeking treatment for his addiction shortly after his arrest, court papers state.
Among those who wrote letters vouching for Carton were Esiason himself, radio host Joe Piscopo and WFAN, which indicated that it would consider allowing Carton to rejoin the station if he were sentenced to probation and not sent to prison.
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