Billy McFarland, the organizer of the disastrous music festival Fyre Fest, pleaded guilty today to two counts of electronic fraud. In court, he told a judge that he lied to investors and "grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary to hold an event of this magnitude," according to Bloomberg.
On June 30 of last year, the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York arrested and accused McFarland of wire fraud, also alleging that it misrepresented his company's finances to attract investors for the festival. Speaking today with US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan, McFarland admitted cheating 80 investors and a ticket broker over $ 26 million. "In an attempt to raise what I thought were necessary funds," he said, "I lied to investors about various aspects of Fyre Media and my personal finances."
McFarland pleaded guilty to two counts of electronic fraud and pleaded guilty to defrauding a ticket vendor who spent $ 2 million to secure advance tickets for future versions of Fyre Fest. Each charge of electronic fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, but McFarland has reached an agreement with the government that will reduce his sentence to between eight and 10 years, with a fine of up to $ 300,000. McFarland will also pay restitution.
Fyre Fest, which McFarland organized with Ja Rule, was originally considered an exclusive festival attended by celebrities and influencers in April of last year. When the headlines arrived, some of which had paid more than $ 10,000 for the experience, they found a disorderly facility and were stranded on the island of Exuma in what was called a "tent city." It became a warning story about why not trust La sponomente, Instagram's nomenclature to describe a failed event, generated a flood of amazing memes.
Currently, McFarland is free on bail and will be sentenced on June 21. Both he and his company Fyre Media still face more than a dozen civil lawsuits.