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Fyre Festival Founder Faces Prison After Pleading Guilty To Wire Fraud
Billy McFarland, the brains behind the Fyre Festival fiasco, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud that may send him to prison for up to 10 years, news outlets reported.
“I deeply regret my actions, and I apologize to my investors, team, family and supporters who I let down,” McFarland told a federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday. “I grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary to hold an event of this magnitude.”
McFarland misled customers into paying up to $250,000 for tickets to a Bahamas music festival in 2016 that he advertised as lavish and “life-changing,” complete with models in bikinis, star musical talents and luxury accommodations. Ticket holders arrived to a barren island bereft of even the most basic survival elements.
The first count of McFarland’s wire fraud charges pertained to the festival’s financing. McFarland provided investors with fake documents overstating the earnings of his company, Fyre Media, as well as his personal finances. The second count alleged that he tricked a ticket vendor into buying $2 million in advance tickets to future festivals.
Sentencing is set for June 21.
A “lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees — suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions ― that was closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’ than Coachella,” a concertgoer’s class-action lawsuit alleged.
McFarland was charged with wire fraud last summer and released on bail. Several lawsuits against him and Fyre Media are still pending.