A number of new indictments and arrests have been issued in the Joe Meli case. Among those indicted is radio personality Craig Carton, who was picked up by the Feds and charged with ripping off investors to the tune of $5.6 million. FBI officials say Carton used much of the money to cover gambling debts.

Carton and Meli are accused of operating a ponzi scheme said to have tricked investors into raising as much as $98 million by claiming he had inside connections to shows like Hamilton and Adele. A former board member of DTI, Meli was arrested in January and charged with operating an elaborate ponzi scheme — Carton used the DTI name to steal at least $2 million, according to the SEC suit.

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Law enforcement officials say Carton and Meli ripped off one investor for $3.6 million while another was fleeced of $2 million. Carton is the co-host of “Boomer and Carton.” After the arrest, Boomer Esiason told listeners Thursday “I’ve loved my partner for 10 years and I still love my partner.” Esiason also confirmed that Carton’s indefinitely suspended … and says he’ll continue bringing in different guests to fill his seat. On Thursday, Phil Simms was subbing in.

Carton is a married father of four and is alleged to have forged documents showing ticket sales agreements with concert promoters for concerts like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Roger Waters, Metallica, and Barbra Streisand that didn’t actually exist.

“Carton provided fabricated and forged documents to an investor purporting to reflect agreements for the purchase of large blocks of tickets by entities controlled by Meli or Carton,” a lawsuit from the SEC reads. “In certain cases, Meli provided these fake agreements to Carton, for the express purpose of having Carton pass them along to an investor.”

Carton was said to be deeply in debt to a number of casinos demanding payment of $2.5 million by Sept. 9, 2016. To generate capital, he sent fake purchase orders and documents to raise money.

“In one instance, Carton misappropriated investor funds by making misrepresentations to both the investor and a third-party concert venue, so as to trick the concert venue into forwarding the investor’s funds to an entity controlled by Carton,” the SEC filing reads.

According to the suit, Carton convinced an investor to wire his shell company Misoluki, Inc $1 million to be pooled to buy a group of tickets for Adele.

“In actuality, Carton and Meli together misappropriated the Individual Investor’s funds so that the majority (at least $730,000) was used within one week to repay some of Carton’s pre-existing, gambling-related debts,” the complaint reads. “Carton represented that the Individual Investor could expect to receive a ‘1.3x’ to ‘1.5x’ return on his investment within a few months.”

On Sept. 28, 2016, “approximately three weeks after the Individual Investor invested $1 million, Carton emailed Meli and said “If we return [the Individual Investor’s] investment plus 30%, so a total of $1.3, he will fund either Metallica or DTI today. As soon as we return $1.3 to him he will come in for $2m on Metallica.” DTI is Curtis Cheng’s ticket consolidation company which has repeatedly been named, but never charged, in the ongoing Meli matter.

Dave Brooks
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Dave Brooks

Founder & Executive Editor at Amplify Media
Dave Brooks has over 15 years experience as a writer, including eight years as the Managing Editor of Venues Today. He started Amplify in 2014 to give the industry its own voice and turn up the volume on live entertainment.
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