Fyre Festival Promoter Gets 6 Years in Prison for Fraud
The fest’s organizer and promoter Billy McFarland has been sentenced to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud back in March.
Image via Getty/Patrick McMullan
Finally someone is going to pay for the abysmal sandwiches and electricity-less tent sham known as Fyre Festival, and it isn't Ja Rule. The fest’s organizer and promoter Billy McFarland has been sentenced to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud back in March.
McFarland was sentenced on Thursday, per the New York Times, for his elaborate festival scheme that promised luxury, celebrity, and music, but in reality left hundreds of ticketed attendees stranded on an island in the Bahamas.
The con artist was ordered to pay back $26 million to bamboozled festival investors, which advertised headlining artists like Migos and Blink-182. As it played out on social media in April 2017, #FyreFestival quickly became a hilarious and iconic example of grifting, at the expense of many high-paying customers.
McFarland was arrested by the FBI following an onslaught of lawsuits and an investigation into the festival. His company filed bankruptcy, he took a plea deal, and eventually pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud. In July, he pled guilty to two additional counts of fraud, related to a different fake ticketing company he owned to sell bogus tickets to big events like the Grammys and Super Bowl.
Though McFarland's legal team tried to piece together a mental health defense, prosecutors called him “the consummate con artist” during sentencing. “He betrayed and deceived his investors, customers, and employees while he was living the high life at his luxury apartment, traveling to exclusive locales, staying at luxury hotels, being chauffeured in his Maserati, and entertaining himself and his friends at restaurants, bars, and casinos."