Craig Carton resigns from 'Boomer and Carton' sports radio show, facing fraud charges

Craig Carton resigned from WFAN’s top-rated “Boomer and Carton” radio program a week after being arrested on federal charges that he fraudulently raised money to pay off gambling debts.

Carton, who co-hosted the program with former NFL star Boomer Esiason for 10 years, said he did not want his legal problems to become a distraction for the CBS-owned New York station.

“I have nothing but love and respect for my co-host, the show and the entire CBS Radio family and I've always tried to represent them in the best possible light,” Carton, 48, said in a statement Wednesday night. “Unfortunately, the unfounded legal issues currently plaguing me will only be a distraction to everyone at WFAN and the show I helped build. With that in mind, I have submitted my resignation to the station and they accepted. I am sad to see this chapter of my life close but know that it will allow me to focus on my family, my well-being and clearing my name, while giving the show the best opportunity to succeed without further disruption.”

CBS Radio said in a statement that it had accepted Carton’s resignation and that a search for a replacement would begin immediately.

The program, which is simulcast on the CBS Sports Network cable channel, has been renamed “The Morning Show With Boomer.” All photos and memorabilia related to Carton were removed from the New York studio by Thursday morning’s show.

Esiason opened the program by saying it was “a sad day.” He said he understood Carton’s decision and believed that his former on-air partner could continue to have a radio career at some point.

“He’s got to get his life in order,” Esiason said. “I wouldn’t be surprised someday somewhere somehow he’ll be behind a microphone.”

According to a complaint filed Sept. 6 in federal court in New York, Carton controlled a company that purported to be in the business of buying 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. Each man could face a prison term of 20 years and a maximum fine of $5 million.

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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