To anyone who listened to the man on the radio, the idea that Craig Carton would be capable of committing securities and wire fraud was inconceivable. A person who’d probably screw up a between-innings three-legged-race at a minor league baseball game guilty of conspiring to rip off loan sharks and a supposedly well-run hedge fund? Impossible. Even the man himself agreed: He’s far too stupid to have pulled something like that off. Much more likely that he was the unwitting pawn of veterans of more erudite ticket-scalping Ponzi schemes.
Well, a Manhattan jury has considered the evidence and decided that it’s not impossible at all. Congratulations to Craig Carton for proving himself smarter than anyone who’s heard him talk could possibly imagine. And also for the fact that sentencing guidelines are merely advisory.
After less than a day of deliberations, a jury of three men and nine women found Carton guilty on all three counts against him, including securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud….
Carton, 49, was released on bail but ordered to return for sentencing on Feb. 27. He faces as much as 45 years in prison based on the sentencing guidelines but will likely get far less.
Of course, once he gets out, he’s gonna have to deal with Desmond Finger, or, before that, one of Finger’s guys on the inside.
One of the loan sharks, Desmond Finger, a general manager of Upper East Side strip club Sapphire 39, told the jury he gave Carton several high-interest loans of as much as $500,000 a pop to finance his casino trips in 2016 and 2017.
Their relationship fell apart when the radio host failed to repay a $500,000 loan in 2017, the strip club manager testified.
Finger, of course, is just one of Carton’s victims. And his old co-host, Boomer Esiason, wants them to know that he cares about them. It’s just that he wishes his buddy could have screwed you over with impunity, since it’s not really his fault.
“We had all held out hope that Craig would somehow find his way out of what he got himself into….”
“This is a cautionary tale of how your life can spiral out of control and affect so many around you, including your own family, the people that you work with and the people that you try to do business with on the outside,” Esiason said. “Last night there was a moment that where I said, ‘I can’t believe it’s finally come to an end.’ He’s destroyed a lot of people in his wake, and that’s what a gambling addiction can do to you.”