Michael Wright, Craig Carton’s co-defendant in an alleged multi-million dollar ticket Ponzi scheme, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for his role in the operation last week. The strip club executive faces up to 20 years in prison for the charge, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s Southern District.
In his plea, Wright said that he withdrew $550,000 in December of 2016 from the ticket-selling business he and Carton ran to pay off Carton’s debts, per NJ.com. That runs directly counter to the former WFAN radio host’s narrative on the business, which he maintains had real deals with venues to acquire inventory to be sold at a profit on the secondary market. The former Boomer and Carton co-host has his trial scheduled to begin later this month. A third co-defendant, Joe Meli, pleaded guilty to securities fraud, admitting to stealing nearly $95 million from investors.
“On or about December 31 through December 23, 2016, at Craig Carton’s instruction and with the purpose of satisfying his debt to me and others, I arranged for transfers of over $550,000 from a business account called Tier One which contained funds received from Brigade to my accounts and to the accounts of others,” reads one part of Wright’s plea.
This account fits neatly with the way prosecutors have described the alleged scheme, which they say Carton used infusions of new investor cash to pay off old debts before the whole thing collapsed.
“From creating phony contracts to outright lies, 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,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman for the Southern District said in a statement announcing the conviction. “Now, Wright has pled guilty to his audacious crimes and faces time in prison for his misdeeds.”
Carton’s trial is scheduled to begin on October 29 in Manhattan.