Fyre Festival Organizer Billy McFarland Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

Posted March 08, 2018

William McFarland, who faces up to 40 years in prison and a likely sentence between 8 and 10 years under federal sentencing guidelines, said he accepted "full responsibility for several serious mistakes" in raising money for the music festival.

"My intention and effort was directed to organizing a legitimate festival", he said in court on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

McFarland was arrested on the charges in June 2017 after altering a brokerage agreement saying he owned stock worth $2.5million. Further, he lied and told them that a famous venture capital vetted Fyre Media and made a decision to invest in it.

"In order to procure these investments, McFarland provided materially false information", the office said previous year.

McFarland promoted the upscale', star-studded event promising shows by artists like Blink-182 and the hip hop act Migos.

Instead of plush cabanas, they were set up in "disaster relief tents", and their gourmet food took the form of cheese sandwiches and wilting lettuce. McFarland may spend a decade in prison after admitting he defrauded 80 investors and a ticket broker out of 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".

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 tendered fake documents to induce investors and a ticket vendor to put more than $26 million into his company and the disastrous Fyre Festival", interim Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in statement. "He now awaits sentencing for his admitted swindle".

McFarland and his attorney, Randall Jackson, declined comment outside court.

Buchwald set McFarland's sentencing for June 21.

McFarland is free on bail, living with his parents in New Jersey.

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