Outspoken WFAN radio personality Craig Carton hasn't made any public statements after being arrested and charged for allegedly orchestrating a $5.6 million Ponzi scheme to pay off gambling debts—but his lawyer is.
A PR firm issued a statement from his lawyer Robert Gottlieb which read, "The government’s allegations against Craig Carton demonstrate a gross misunderstanding of what happened. Craig is a victim who was deceived, manipulated and used by individuals seeking to gather assets for their own fraudulent schemes."
The U.S. Attorney's office says that Carton, along with Michael Wright, the COO for the company that owns the Sapphire strip clubs, ran a ticket-reselling scam where they told investors they had access to blocks of tickets to popular performers, like Adele, Justin Bieber, Metallica, Katy Perry and Barbra Streisand, when they allegedly never had the tickets and forged agreements with concert venues and promoters to show their investors.
The SEC also charged Carton and Joseph Meli, who has already been charged in an investigation into a Hamilton ticket reselling scheme that ensnared billionaires, for the same scheme: "According to the SEC’s complaint, investors were falsely promised high returns from the price markups in ticket resales. But instead of purchasing tickets for resale, Carton and Meli allegedly misappropriated at least $3.6 million to repay earlier investors and cover such other expenses as Carton’s gambling debts. Carton allegedly stole an additional $2 million by tricking a concert venue into forwarding an investor’s money into a bank account belonging to one of Carton’s companies."
On Thursday, the NY Post questioned the credibility of Carton's charitiy work for TicTocStop (committed to reducing stigma and challenges around Tourette's syndrome, which Carton and two of his children have)—noting that "nearly all the cash raised has been spent on something other than Tourette syndrome, including a series of golf outings, galas and other fundraising events."
In its IRS filings, Tic Top Stop lists two unexplained “contributions” totaling $103,390 made in 2013-’14. Even if that entire amount went to treatment or research, that would account for less than 10 percent of what the charity has taken in, the filings reveal.
An expert with the Charity Navigator watchdog group said the lack of any “program expenses” in its most recent, 2015 filing raised a “major red flag.”
“We rarely ever see organizations report zero for program expenses,” Katie Rusnock said.
“We occasionally see low ratios, but this is definitely far outside the norm.”
The Post revealed how Carton may have came into contact with one of his investment victims and supposed concert connections, "Earlier this year, Tic Top Stop’s fourth annual celebrity golf outing was co-chaired by board member Doug Pardon, whom The Post has identified as the 'hedge fund partner' Carton targeted to allegedly scam $4.6 million from Brigade Capital Management...The only place to have hosted both Streisand and Metallica this year is the Nassau Coliseum, which is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. That company is also listed on Tic Tic Stop’s website as a supporter."
Gottlieb told the Post that the TicTocStop "has sponsored a $340,000 study by the University of Tennessee Dental School to develop a revolutionary new treatment for patients with mild to moderate Tourette Syndrome... Currently in review with the FDA, the appliance, called the Tic Guard, has shown an average tic reduction (both motor and vocal) of 39%. Every year the foundation also fully funds Camp Carton, a sleep-away summer camp serving children ages 9-13 years old that are suffering from Tourette’s." An American Dental Association press release has a photograph of Carton presenting a $100,000 check last year.
The federal complaints are damning, claiming that Carton personally forged documents and contracts and had money wired into accounts he controlled. He also allegedly aggressively badgered an investor to put up the money: "I do have to ask for a signed agreement today. if you want to wait until Monday to wire funds, that's fine but again everyday we don't have funds is another day we lose access to tickets."
If convicted of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit those offenses, Carton would face a maximum of 45 years in prison. Sports Illustrated writes. "He would likely not be sentenced to anywhere near the maximum—45 years in prison if the sentences were run consecutively—if convicted on the three counts. Still, he would be looking at spending time in prison. The threat of a long prison sentence, and the prospect that other witnesses have already reached plea deals, could motivate Carton to weigh the possibility of cutting his own deal."
Carton was popular with law enforcement, for his support of them on air and his efforts to organize charity events. A source told the Daily News, "We’re shocked as much as Boomer was. We had no knowledge of anything like this. Are we surprised? Yeah, sure we are. But we’re cops. Human nature never disappoints a cop. We’re disappointed every day by just what we have to deal with."