Judge Says ‘First Time, Long Time’ As She Sentences Sports Radio Host

Craig Carton, formerly of WFAN, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Craig Carton at the Mr. Chibbs premiere
Lars Niki / Getty Images

Craig Carton, formerly of WFAN, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

When former New York sports radio host Craig Carton was sentenced to three and a half years in prison Friday, the sentencing judge made a sports radio joke.

“Colleen from New York. First time, long time,” Judge Colleen McMahon told Carton Friday, in reference to a frequent salutation by sports radio callers. Per The New York Post, the rest of what the judge had to say had a lot less levity.

“Your marriage is over, your kids are terrified … reputation in tatters,” the judge told Carton. “Craig Carton, you have indeed descended into a hell of your own making.”

In addition to the prison sentence, Carton was sentenced to 150 hours of community service and ordered to pay $4.8 million in restitution, the Post said. Carton had admitted to the judge that he suffered from a gambling addiction.

Carton, who spent 10 years co-hosting the morning show on WFAN in New York with former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, was arrested in 2017 and charged with securities fraud and wire fraud. Carton was accused of carrying out a Ponzi scheme in which he collected millions of dollars for what he said was an investment venture involving concert tickets. Carton, in fact, used the money to pay off previous investors, while also paying off his gambling debts.

“I never intended to take money from people and not pay them back,” Carton said in court, per the newspaper. “I had grandiose plans about how we would all make money together.”

The host, who resigned from WFAN shortly after his arrest, had professed his innocence publicly. He was convicted after a trial last November.

Carton had also worked in Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver, and Philadelphia at previous career stops. He also worked at WNEW in New York before he and Esiason took over WFAN’s morning slot in 2007 following the departure of longtime host Don Imus.

In 1997, while working at WIP in Philadelphia, Carton claimed on the air that then-Philadelphia Flyers star Eric Lindros had missed a game because he was hung over; the team responded by suing the radio station.

Carton revealed recently that he had suffered from sexual abuse as a child.

Another longtime radio host and sports broadcaster, Philadelphia’s Don Tollefson, was arrested in 2014, also in relation to a scheme that involved soliciting money from investors in relation to sports tickets. Tollefson, convicted of fraud, did 14 years in prison in Pennsylvania, getting out in 2017, per WHYY.