Fyre Festival Organizer Billy McFarland Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

Danny Woods
March 8, 2018

McFarland, who organized the disastrous Fyre Festival that made headlines previous year, has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, a spokesman for the USA attorney's office for the southern district of NY told TheWrap on Tuesday. But the end result was far from what was promised, with bands bowing out, flights being limited, lodging not being adequate, food being subpar and even restroom facilities being lacking.

Once the mess of a weekend was sorted out, Fyre Media came under FBI investigation and McFarland was arrested in June 2017.

Joon H. Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, released a statement following McFarland's arrest.

Additionally, McFarland pleaded guilty to lying to a ticket broker, in order to convince him to buy $2 million dollars worth of tickets for future Fyre Festivals.

Billy McFarland, 26, told a judge Tuesday that he "grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary to hold an event of this magnitude".

William "Billy" McFarland pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to two counts of wire fraud.

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According to the United States Department of Justice, McFarland repeatedly lied to investors about Fyre Media's revenue and income, and manipulated the company's financial statements. In the meantime, he also reportedly faces lawsuits from attendees and investors of the festival. Prosecutors claim he provided false documents to investors in which he claimed his company, Fyre Media Inc., had taken in millions of dollars from thousands of artist bookings in a single year.

He also went on to apologize, the AP reports.

A "lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a unsafe 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 admitted raising money for the festival by giving a ticket vendor false information about Fyre Media's financial condition last April to induce the vendor to pay US$2 million for a block of advance tickets.

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

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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