NEW YORK — Former New Jersey 101.5 and WFAN talk show host Craig Carton was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison Friday.

Carton was sentenced following for a reported $5.6 million in gambling-driven financial fraud Friday by Judge Colleen McMahon, who chided the 50-year-old for "descending into a hell of your own making," according to a tweet by Law 360 reporter Pete Brush, who was in the courtroom.

Prosecutors said Carton touted his show business contacts and ability to get prime seats at events like Metallica and Barbra Streisand concerts to solicit nearly $7 million from investors. They say he blew the money on everything from gambling debts to landscaping bills.

McMahon said the 3-and-a-half-year sentence was about half of what the government recommended, and includes 150 months of community service so can Carton could continue to do "good in this world" and raise awareness about gambling addiction, according to Brush.

But it was not an excuse for stealing, Brush said McMahon told Carton.

Carton was also ordered to payback $4.8 million, most of which has been paid back. He still owes $1.3 million. The sentence additionally includes a 3-year probation term,

Carton said his crimes were "triggered by demons" and said he was powerless to the disease, according to Brush.

In a video Carton was expected to release Friday, he said he borrowed more than $30 million to gamble as addiction took over his life.

Nearly 90 people wrote letters on Carton's behalf asking for leniency in sentencing, including Gov. Chris Christie and his former co-hosts Ray Rossi and Boomer Esiason. Former newspaper columnist Bob Ingle, New Jersey comedian and radio host Joe Piscopo, "American Idol" finalist Constantine Maroulis, and former NFL player and sports broadcaster Chris Simms also wrote letters.

Carton must report for sentencing on July 15.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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