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Judge denies Craig Carton's request to bar prosecutors from using term 'Ponzi scheme'

Former WFAN sports radio host Craig Carton speaks

Former WFAN sports radio host Craig Carton speaks to the media after his arraignment in federal court on Nov. 8, 2017, in New York. Credit: AP / Julie Jacobson

Former sports talk radio host Craig Carton’s request to bar the prosecutors from describing his alleged Ponzi scheme with the specific phrase — “Ponzi scheme” — was denied by a federal judge on Oct. 19 in advance of the start of Carton’s trial Monday.

Carton, 48, also sought to prevent prosecutors from using the words “sham,” “fleece” and “fraudulent” because he said the jury might then associate him with, among others, Bernie Madoff. But U.S. District Judge C.J. McMahon, in a series of rulings on Friday, said prosecutors are “perfectly free to characterize the conduct about which it offers evidence using these terms.”

Among McMahon’s other rulings Friday:

Prosecutors are allowed to discuss Carton’s gambling losses “because it is inextricably intertwined with the charged crime and is relevant to the issues of motive and intent,” the judge wrote. Carton is charged with scamming investors in a ticket-resale business and using their funds to instead repay gambling debts and pay prior investors.

Prosecutors also are permitted to introduce evidence they have that Carton controlled a Gmail account called “maytommy2015.” Prosecutors alleged that Carton used the account to pretend to be a "Hamilton" producer to help fool potential investors in his ticket company.

Carton is not permitted to use evidence of his previous business relationship with executives from BSE Global — which operates both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum — as evidence that he did not commit the crimes he’s charged with.

However, Carton is permitted to provide the information for contextual purposes. In a filing this week, Carton’s attorneys wrote that he had a relationship with BSE Global CEO Brett Yormark and former executive Fred Mangione —- now with the Jets — since early 2015.

Carton’s attorneys wrote that, "as a result of that relationship, in or around the spring of 2015, before the start of the alleged conspiracy, Mangione and Yormark offered Mr. Carton the opportunity to buy blocks of tickets from Barclays for resale.”

Carton’s attorney, Robert Gottlieb, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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