Former ENTERCOM (then CBS) Sports WFAN-A-F/NEW YORK morning host CRAIG CARTON has been sentenced to 42 months in prison by U.S. District Judge COLLEEN MCMAHON for running a ticket-resale Ponzi scheme. NEWSDAY and multiple media sources report that CARTON, 50, who once teamed with ex-NFL star BOOMER ESIASON in mornings on WFAN, was found guilty of fraudulently bilking over $5 million from investors by lying about profitable ticket deals, then using that money to pay massive gambling debts and repay former investors.
Before sentencing, CARTON asked for leniency because he was a gambling addict who was raped as a child. He claimed that discussing the PENN STATE/JERRY SANDUSKY child molestation case on-air triggered memories of his own sexual assault as a child, which prompted him to turn to gambling for “salvation.”
“It simply made the demons go away,” he said. “I did it more and more so I could simply escape and feel better … Gambling became my escape, my anesthesia, my coping mechanism.”
Since then, CARTON has joined GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS and gotten treatment. He asked the judge for the opportunity to spread an anti-gambling message to the public in lieu of jail time. “I have a unique skill,” he said. “A skill that would be wasted behind bars.”
Judge COLLEEN MCMAHON, who admitted to being a fan of his show, didn’t buy it. “Gambling may be why you did what you did, but a gambling addiction is not an excuse for stealing from people,” she said, comparing CARTON to defendants who blame their crimes on drug addiction.