Tags: billy mcfarland | fyre festival | guilty | fraud

Billy McFarland to Finish Fyre Festival Partying in Prison

Image: Billy McFarland to Finish Fyre Festival Partying in Prison

Billy McFarland, promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges on Tuesday. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 March 2018 01:13 PM

Billy McFarland, the failed Fyre Festival’s promoter, took a plea deal in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud in connection with the Bahamas music fest that turned into a fiasco last spring, the New York Daily News reported.

The Fyre Music Festival was scheduled to take place over weekends in April and May 2017 on Exuma island in the Bahamas, the Daily News said. Tickets were sold for $1,500 to $20,000 and models Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski were paid to promote the festival on their social media pages.

The attendees didn’t get promised music headliners, gourmet meals, luxury rooms, and beach parties, and instead couldn’t even find adequate bathroom facilities, suitable accommodations, or edible food, the Daily News said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said McFarland, 26, concocted "a scheme to defraud individuals by inducing them to invest millions of dollars in Fyre Media. Through this scheme, McFarland caused losses to at least 80 victim-investors, totaling more than $24 million dollars."

Prosecutors said McFarland misrepresented the Fyre Festival to investors to secure money for the event, claiming that investors would have the rights to payouts from event cancellation insurance policies "when, in reality, no event cancellation insurance policies had been executed for the festival. Ultimately, the festival was canceled and widely deemed to have been a failure."

McFarland told U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald that he took "full responsibility" for Fyre Media and the festival and that he "grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary" to put on such an event, the Daily News said.

Rapper Ja Rule, who helped organize the festival, was not charged, per the Daily News, but the rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, 42, and McFarland are facing other civil lawsuits in connection with the failed event.

"His vision was for a phenomenal music experience — and he is completely disheartened by what was revealed to him," Stacey Richman, Atkins' attorney said, per the Daily News.

McFarland's wire fraud counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and he has consented to a forfeiture order in the amount of $26,040,099.48, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The Daily News said prosecutors and McFarland's lawyers agreed to a sentence of 97 to 120 months under his plea deal.

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Billy McFarland, the failed Fyre Festival’s promoter, took a plea deal in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud in connection with the Bahamas music fest that turned into a fiasco last spring.
billy mcfarland, fyre festival, guilty, fraud
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2018-13-07
Wednesday, 07 March 2018 01:13 PM
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