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Craig Carton, co-host of 'Boomer and Carton' sports radio show, accused of wire and securities fraud

Craig Carton, co-host of the popular morning “Boomer and Carton" radio show on New York sports station WFAN, was arrested Wednesday by federal authorities on suspicion that he used money raised for a ticket resale business to fund gambling debts.

CBS Radio, which owns WFAN, announced late Wednesday that Carton has been suspended while the company conducts its own investigation of the matter.

“We are aware of the situation and are cooperating with authorities,” the company said in a statement.

According to a complaint filed in federal court in New York, Carton, 48, controlled a company that purported to be in the business of purchasing large quantities of tickets to live events and reselling them at a profit. The FBI said that the millions of dollars that Carton and an alleged co-conspirator, Michael Wright of Saddle River, N.J., had wired to them from a hedge fund account was used instead to cover personal debts at gambling casinos and payments to prior investors.

The charges against Carton and Wright include one count of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. Both men could face prison terms of 20 years and a maximum fine of $5 million.

Carton and Wright conducted the scheme from September 2016 to January 2017, according to the complaint. An unnamed alleged co-conspirator who is an associate of the two defendants was also charged in the case.

Carton’s radio co-host, Boomer Esiason, a former NFL star quarterback and CBS Sports commentator, had no knowledge of the arrest before he went on the air on Wednesday. Esiason assumed his on-air partner of 10 years was taking a sick day when he did not appear at the studio. He learned of what happened to Carton late in the broadcast and acknowledged it briefly to listeners.

“I’m taken aback and surprised by it just like I’m sure everybody else is," Esiason said.

“Boomer and Carton” is simulcast nationally on the CBS Sports Network cable outlet.

WFAN’s other hosts told listeners they were not discussing the matter on the air.

CBS Sports analyst Phil Simms will fill in for Carton on Thursday. Future co-hosts will be announced as needed.

Any disruption of the successful morning team will be a tough blow to the business of WFAN, which had advertising billings of $46.5 million in 2016, the fourth-highest among all U.S. radio stations. The station is also losing its top-rated afternoon personality, Mike Francesa, who is set to leave when his contract is up at the end of this year.

Parent company CBS Corp. has a deal to sell its radio division to Entercom. The sale is expected to close later this year.

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


UPDATES:

6:25 p.m.: This article was updated with CBS Radio’s announcement that Craig Carton has been suspended from WFAN.

This article was originally published at 12:30 p.m.

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