Billy McFarland, Organizer of Fyre Festival, Pleads Guilty
01:15, Mar 8, 2018
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While McFarland has plead guilty to the wire fraud him and his firm Fyre Media still face more than 12 civil lawsuits and liquidation of the firm as investors and ticket buyers try to recuperate their loses.
McFarland was arrested on June 30 for defrauding investors in Fyre Media Inc., a company he set up to build a digital application to allow organizers to book talent for concert an other events.
The event on the Bahamian island of Exuma was supposed to take place over two weekends last April and May.
In a document from the US Department of Justice, it says: "McFarland repeatedly made materially false statements to investors about Fyre Media's revenue and income, and manipulated Fyre Media's financial statements and supporting documentation to hide Fyre Media's true financial condition". 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. Customers lashed out on social media with the hashtag #fyrefraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison according to federal guidelines, but the actual sentence will be determined by the judge. From facing a $100 million lawsuit to the festival potentially filing lawsuits of their own against festival attendees, we've heard it all.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said McFarland, 26, concocted "a scheme to defraud individuals by inducing them to invest millions of dollars in Fyre Media". Partiers then found themselves stranded on the island with little food or water, and, at times, there was no electricity. Bloomberg also reports that McFarland owes investors more than $26 million.
The entrepreneur behind a luxury music festival in the Bahamas that collapsed in chaos admitted Tuesday that he swindled investors by vastly overstating his financial health.
Prosecutors and McFarland's lawyers agreed that a sentence of 97 to 120 months would be appropriate under his plea deal.
McFarland is free on bail, living with his parents in New Jersey.
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