“Boomer and Carton” co-host Craig Carton was arrested by feds Wednesday morning on charges he ripped off millions of dollars from investors by peddling bogus concert tickets in order to cover his own gambling debts, according to court papers.
Carton, 48, and business partner Joseph Meli are accused of running a Ponzi scheme in which they used funds from new investors to repay earlier investors and other debts, according to the complaint filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Together, Carton and Meli, 43, ripped off at least $3.6 million from two investors, while on his own, Carton misappropriated another $2 million from one of the same two investors.
The two solicited investments in ticket reselling enterprises they claimed bought tickets to Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Roger Waters, Metallica, Barbra Streisand and Adele shows and resold them at huge profits.
“Carton falsely claimed to investors that he — sometimes on his own and sometimes through Meli —had access to millions of dollars’ worth of concert tickets at face value,” the complaint said.
The married father of four allegedly forged documents showing purported ticket-sale “agreements” between his and Meli’s entities and concert promoters – when none actually existed.
Carton turned to the ticket scam in the middle of 2016 as a result of accruing “millions of dollars’ worth of gambling-related debts to casinos and other third parties,” according to court papers.
In a Sept. 7, 2016, email to Meli and another associate, Carton wrote that he was “around $3 M in the whole [sic]” and that he “risked and lost $700 of investor money” — referring to a $700,000 loss — and that he owed [$825,000] ASAP” to the person. He also indicated that he owed “a total of $500 on the 12th” to two casinos, referring to a $500,000 debt, the complaint detailed.
In addition to the SEC charges, Carton is charged, along with another business associate Michael Wright, with wire and securities fraud by prosecutors in Manhattan federal court.
One of their investors was an unidentified hedge fund partner, who Carton first met in September 2016 at a charity event.
In October 2016, Carton texted Wright and Meli — identified as “co-conspirator 1” in the Manhattan federal court complaint — saying he struck gold.
“Guys. I’ve done it,” Carton wrote. “One investor ready committed $10m liquid and $40m LOC [line of credit] with $50m if needed. I need some info. List of shows we can 100% prove access to tickets. How many when and how it’s returned and predicted success.”
The radio host allegedly used the hedge fund investments to pay off his casino debts.
Carton, who was arrested at his Tribeca home, is one-half of the popular “Boomer and Carton” sports radio show on WFAN along with former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason. The show has been on air since 2007.
Esiason was mum on Carton’s arrest on Tuesday’s show but took a couple of digs at his co-host for texting that he was “under the weather.”
“If you hear me starting the show, that means numb nuts is under the weather and he’s not here. And basically what will be the longest week,” Esiason said.
Carton generally kicks off the 6 to 10 a.m. morning show.
Esiason continued complaining about his packed scheduled this week, quipping, “My partner decides, ‘Oh I don’t know, I don’t want to show up this morning because I don’t feel good’” — though it’s unclear whether he’s actually aware of Carton’s arrest.
Esiason and his fill-in co-host then joke that Carton has a “Yankee flu” following the Bombers’ 7-6 bust to the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night.
“We are aware of the situation and are cooperating with authorities,” a CBS Radio spokesperson told WPIX.