Lawyer says ‘it doesn’t look good’ for Craig Carton
September 12, 2017
by Evan Grossman
WFAN shock jock Craig Carton has “a hard, long road” in front of him as he attempts to fight serious federal fraud charges, according to one attorney.
Carton said Tuesday he is in “one of the greatest battles of my life” as he stands accused of running a multi-million-dollar ticket-resale operation that’s been compared to a Ponzi-like scheme. Richard Roth, a trial attorney at the Roth Law Firm, said the co-host of “The Boomer and Carton Show” better roll up his sleeves for a tough fight.
“The thing about the federal government, the Department of Justice is the biggest law firm in the country, and they put in a tremendous amount of time and energy before they go out and slap someone,” Roth said. “But he’s innocent until proven guilty. His lawyers have said it’s a complete misunderstanding of the business, and if he has some defense, he does have a shot. But it doesn’t look good.”
The intricate details of the case against Carton don’t bode well for getting out of this, Roth said. According to the federal complaint, Carton was pinched for taking money from investors who believed they were buying into a ticket resale enterprise. Carton is accused of falsely claiming he had access to millions of dollars worth of concert tickets, took the money, and instead, paid off gambling debts with it. Court papers include references to emails and text messages between Carton and accused accomplice Michael Wright.
“If it’s not true, then the authorities have it wrong,” Roth said. “But if it is true … it’s pretty serious, and the thing that’s most concerning is this is a very detailed complaint. It states dates, times, places, documents, the debts, and emails. Emails are the curse of death for people who put things in writing and go send them their email address. So I think it’s very serious.
“This is not hard to prove. If he raises money and it goes to pay the debt, either to a lending company or a bank, whatever it is, and you’re paying it with the money that’s raised, that’s pretty serious. I know his lawyer has come out and said this is a misunderstanding, but it sounds to me, from the specific allegations, he’s in trouble.”
Carton’s lawyer Robert Gottlieb said Friday in a statement this is “a gross misunderstanding” and Carton is “a victim who was deceived, manipulated, and used by individuals seeking to gather assets for their own fraudulent schemes.”
“If I’m raising money and using the proceeds for a different purpose than what’s stated in the documents, that’s securities fraud,” Roth said. “I can’t tell you you’re investing in an oil company and then you give me money and I go ahead and pay my debts.”
The maximum sentence for what Carton is accused of could be as much as 45 years.
“That’s not happening,” Roth said.
Roth said Carton has only two choices: He can plead guilty “if they have him dead to rights,” or he can fight in court. If he’s tried and he loses, there is a separate sentencing portion, and that sentence would be based on the number of people defrauded, the total amount of money, the level of involvement, and so on.
“This is not going to be 45 years,” Roth said, “but it could certainly be a few years in jail.”
Or, Carton could beat this. He said in a statement Tuesday, “My fight has only just begun and I know when this strange episode is over, I’ll be back, stronger than ever. Thank you for all the kind words and good wishes as I continue on with one of the greatest battles of my life.”
Federal charges can be beaten. Last year, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban beat charges of insider trading. At the time, Cuban said, “I won’t be bullied … I don’t care if it’s the federal government.” Cuban said he spent more in lawyers defending himself than what the federal fines would have been.
Roth indicated speedy trial rules could require a trial within a few months.
“However, in most cases, the parties get a lot more time by asking the judge to exclude certain time periods from the ticking clock,” he said.