A business partner of Craig Carton pleaded guilty to his small role in a ticket-selling scheme Thursday — and threw the loudmouth former WFAN host under the bus in the process.
Michael Wright, a strip club executive, said in Manhattan Federal Court that he misused money in December 2016 “at Craig Carton’s instruction” that Carton had raised from a hedge fund, Brigade Capital Management, for their ticket-reselling business. Carton had told Brigade the money would go exclusively into buying tickets that would be resold for a profit, when in reality some of the money was used to pay a debt Carton owed Wright, as well as other debts Carton owed, Wright said.
The transfer was “at Craig Carton’s instruction and with the purpose of satisfying his debt to me and others,” Wright said.
The total money Wright, 42, transferred from the business account was $550,000, he said.
“I was aware that there was a high probability that Craig Carton had represented to Brigade that the funds it sent were to be used exclusively for the purpose of purchasing concert tickets, and I consciously avoided confirming that fact,” Wright added.
He faces up to 20 years on one charge of wire fraud. He also agreed to forfeit $346,000. His plea agreement with prosecutors describes him as a “minor participant” in the scheme.
“Michael Wright admitted today that he and his partners in crime conducted an elaborate ticket-buying scheme to defraud investors of millions of dollars,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.
“Wright and his cohorts ensured that the money his backers thought they were investing actually went directly into his and his co-defendant’s pockets.”
A press release from April 2017 identifies Wright as the COO of a chain of strip clubs, Sapphire.
“He’s very glad to get this case behind him,” Wright’s attorney Alan Futerfas said, adding that the plea did not include a cooperation agreement.
Carton was arrested last September for a $4.6 million Ponzi scheme in which he allegedly used money from investors in a ticket re-selling business to repay his massive gambling debts. Carton, the former co-host of “Boomer and Carton,” now hosts a streaming sports-talk show.
Carton has pleaded not guilty. His trial begins Oct. 29.