Fyre Festival Founder Faces Prison After Pleading Guilty To Wire Fraud
Mar 08 2018
The 26-year-old entrepreneur who created Fyre Festivaladmitted in court Tuesday that he defrauded investors in his high-end music festival in the Bahamas, a much-hyped event that ended in a public collapse.
The "upscale" accommodations consisted of half-built tents, cheese sandwiches and rat droppings covering the ground.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, but McFarland would most likely face eight to 10 years in prison plus a fine of up to $300,000 under the plea deal, according toBloomberg. He was arrested in June following the FBI's investigation into Fyre Media and the chaotic downfall of the festival.
Joon H. Kim, the acting USA 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.
"In order to procure these investments, McFarland provided materially false information", the office said a year ago. He went on to explain that in an attempt to raise the funds needed, he lied to investors about various aspects of Fyre Media and his personal finances.
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. He also agreed to forfeit more than $26 million.
A lawsuit filed in May by festival attendees Matthew Herlihy and Anthony Lauriello accuses McFarland and festival co-founder Ja Rule of "false representations, material omissions and negligence".
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. It said the festival's inadequate food, water, shelter and medical care left attendees stranded on a remote island in a "dangerous and panicked situation".
McFarland is free on bail, living with his parents in New Jersey. McFarland also claimed the festival booked 2,500 acts in one month, when they only booked 60 for the whole year.