Craig Carton will spend three-and-a-half years in prison after a U.S. District Court Judge sentenced him Friday.
Before Judge Colleen McMahon handed down the sentence, she told the former WFAN radio host that she had been a fan of Carton’s shows, opening with the line “Colleen from New York. First time, long time,” before ripping him for his predicament.
“Your marriage is over, your kids are terrified … reputation in tatters,” she told the 50-year-old father of four. “Craig Carton, you have indeed descended into a hell of your own making.”
A jury convicted Carton on securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy charges in November. Attorneys for Carton, had asked for a reduced sentence citing Carton’s charitable work helping children with Tourette’s syndrome, as well as his addiction to gambling, which he addressed in a video released to the media after the hearing concluded.
“My 7-year-old son went back to school after the summer. The teacher said, ‘I want you to draw for me your favorite places to visit,” he says in the video, which he shot six weeks ago. “He drew Atlantis, Hollywood Hard Rock and the Borgata — three casinos. That’s not normal for a 7-year-old. That’s the first time I really looked in the mirror and said, ‘You’ve got a problem.’”
The video, titled The Reckoning, has Carton claim that he “borrowed over $30 million to gamble with. Helicopters, private jets, vacations. I had it all at my disposal because I was wagering obscene amounts of money,” he says. “And I didn’t care. I had a huge ego when it came to my ability to play blackjack … I was wagering 10, 20 thousand dollars a hand just a few hours before I was supposed to do a radio show.”
Carton says the Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City “allowed me to wager five hands at $25,000 a hand, at once. Obscene. I won $4 million in three days and didn’t tell a single person. Didn’t enjoy it, didn’t buy anything with it,” he says. “Two weeks later, I lost $700,000. You end up living in an isolated, introverted world of secrets. And that’s what I did, until I couldn’t anymore.”
The video even details his arrest: “Sept 6, 2017. It was 3:50 in the morning. I was leaving my apartment to go to work … There’s a woman coming up the steps. She says, ‘Are you Craig Carton?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘FBI, you’re under arrest. And that was my day of reckoning, and it has all gone downhill since.”
In court, Carton also tried to lean on gambling addiction to explain his crimes, telling the McMahon “I never intended to take money from people and not pay them back.”
The judge was unswayed.
“A gambling addiction is not an excuse for stealing from people or defrauding people,” she said. “You broke the compact, so you have to take a timeout from society.”
Carton will surrender to the court on July 15 to begin his sentence.