Former sports radio host Craig Carton is facing up to 45 years in prison on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy. On Tuesday, he broke his silence on the charges leveled against him in an interview with USA Today.
The former WFAN personality co-hosted a popular New York-themed sports show with former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason for 10 years. But Carton resigned in September after prosecutors accused him of using money from an alleged Ponzi scheme to pay off gambling debts.
Carton told USA Today that he has lost all income and his "dream job" as he awaits trial. He reportedly plans to plead not guilty in the alleged scheme in which he and others offered large numbers of tickets for face value that would then be sold later for profit.
"It is devastating," he told USA Today. "There is no other word for it. It has thrown my entire life upside down—I have to talk to my kids about things that they might not understand but that I know they are reading...adult things that no kid should ever have to read about, especially when you are talking about their father."
Carton has had some high-profile support. Friend and outgoing New Jersey governor, Chris Christie defended him in the USA Today piece. “I believe in Craig and I believe in his goodness as a person,” Christie told the paper.
Carton has largely stayed out of the media in the midst of the scandal that broke months ago. But in talking to USA Today, he couldn't help get a shot in on former Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who tweeted about the former host when the story broke. “Geno Smith? Who’s that—is he still playing football? It says a lot about Geno Smith’s career that I made him relevant again."
Robert Gottlieb, Carton's lawyer, appears to be building a case that Carton was actually a victim of the scheme, which allegedly involved more than $4 million. Gottlieb told the New York Post that a man named Joseph Meli, believed to be involved in the ticket scam, victimized Carton.
While he prepares for his day in court, the once-outspoken Carton told the paper that he plans to make a return to his job. "I think about (being on sports radio) every minute of every day," he told USA Today. "You can bet your (butt) that I will do it again at some point."