Craig Carton confessional video: ‘I borrowed over $30 million to gamble’
In what comes off like a confessional video, former WFAN and New Jersey 101.5 radio host Craig Carton says he borrowed millions of dollars to make bets and pay off gambling debts as addiction took over his personality.
Carton is set to be sentenced for a reported $5.6 million in gambling-driven financial fraud Friday. He shot "The Reckoning" six weeks ago but intends for it to be released after the sentencing, according to an account by New York Post writer Phil Mushnick, who has seen the video.
It describes the moment Carton says he knew he had a problem:
“My 7-year-old son went back to school after the summer. The teacher said, ‘I want you to draw for me your favorite places to visit.’ He drew Atlantis, Hollywood Hard Rock and the Borgata — three casinos," Carton says, according to the Post account.
He describes deceiving himself and others into believing he was a "blackjack savant," and being loaned millions of dollars by people he'd promised quick returns. He describes winning and losing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in the space of days.
“I borrowed over $30 million to gamble with. Helicopters, private jets, vacations. I had it all at my disposal because I was wagering obscene amounts of money," Carton said. “And I didn’t care. I had a huge ego when it came to my ability to play blackjack … I was wagering 10, 20 thousand dollars a hand just a few hours before I was supposed to do a radio show.
The judge in the case has heard from more than 90 people who have asked her to show mercy. Among the letters seeking leniency is one written Carton himself. Some former and current New Jersey 101.5 staffers also wrote letters.
Carton, who once helmed New Jersey 101.5's top-rated afternoon show before he went on to WFAN and TV, has blamed his gambling addiction for his debts, as well as childhood trauma related to sexual abuse. In his letter to U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon, he takes responsibility for his criminal actions and discusses the consequences of his addiction.
Among those advocating for Carton at New Jersey 101.5: Evening host Steve Trevelise argued in a post Thursday Carton should not go to prison for his crimes. Trevelise's former intern, Mickey Nichols, who was paralyzed at age 17, thanked Carton publicly for speaking at and supporting the 5th annual Mikey Strong Charity hockey game to benefit The Reeve Foundation and the Nichols Family Trust.
But longtime New Jersey 101.5 host Jim Gearhart, who now leads a podcast for the station, remains bitter about a man he says "operated out of relentless malice toward former or fellow employees, especially me." Gearhart has notoriously called Carton a "cancer" on the radio station.
Carton faces a sentence of as much as 45 years in federal prison.