Fyre Festival Founder Billy McFarland Arrested on Wire Fraud Charges
The fallout from the clusterfuck that was Ja Rule's 2017 Fyre Festival just went from bad to worse for festival organizer, Billy McFarland. Now, on top of facing multiple lawsuits behind the failed concert event, he has also been charged with wire fraud.
On Friday (June 30), the Department of Justice revealed criminal complaint documents that show McFarland has been arrested in relation to financial fraud surrounding the procurement of funds for the event.
"As alleged, William McFarland promised a ‘life changing’ music festival but in actuality delivered a disaster,” said acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim. “McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival. Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, McFarland will now have to answer for his crimes.”
The complaint states that McFarland tricked investors into thinking his company had made millions in revenue from artist bookings when in fact they had only pulled in $60,000.
McFarland and Ja Rule promised fun in the sun, and luxury accommodations for the April festival that was to feature G.O.O.D. Music as the headliners. But the extremely poorly planned event ended up being cancelled before it started leaving some people stranded.
In April, McFarland called the day of the postponement the worst day of his life. “We started the website to test the theory that people were interested and it went from there,” McFarland said. “All of the sudden we had thousands of guests and we started booking talent, and we had a festival on our hands. So we thought, oh wow, we have to go solve all the logistical problems.”
He added, “Unfortunately we were hit by a storm early Thursday morning that caused some damage to half our tent housing and busted pipes and delayed flights that were arriving to the point where we weren’t comfortable in our ability to resolve it, and we decided to postpone the festival.”
It looks like he's going to have to come up with a better explanation than this in court. If found guilty, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
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