Fyre Fest Founder Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Is Ordered to Pay $26 Million

He also faces eight to 10 years in prison.

Billy McFarland

Image via WikiCommons

Billy McFarland

The disaster that was Fyre Festival kept getting hit with lawsuits after it was all said and done, and its founder Billy McFarland has been ordered to pay back millions in investor funds after he pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud, Billboard reports.

Showing up in Manhattan federal court on Friday, McFarland admitted he lied to obtain upwards of $26 million from investors in a bid to pull off the festival in the Bahamas last year. Using fake documents detailing financial holdings he didn't actually have, McFarland was able to funnel funds from investors and ticket outlets for the festival.

Fyre Fest was set to feature luxury accommodations, catered food, and artists like Major Lazer and Migos, but the festival grounds were an unfinished collection of haphazard tents, with no food and complete chaos. Food was eventually provided in the form of prepackaged sandwiches, and a band of local musicians performed before the festival was postponed indefinitely — after it had technically already started. Return flights were fraught with delays and rescheduling, dragging the debacle out even more, and many of the employees didn't get paid for their work on the festival.

McFarland was arrested last summer after an FBI investigation into the festival, and according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, accepted a plea deal. In addition to paying back the money, he faces eight to 10 years in prison, but he isn't scheduled for sentencing until June 21. The aftermath saw many lawsuits against McFarland, including a $100 million class-action lawsuit, and the LLC that owns Fyre has been forced to file for bankruptcy.

In court, McFarland seemed remorseful. "I deeply regret my actions, and I apologize to my investors, team, family, and supporters who I let down," he said.

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