Fyre Festival Founder Billy MacFarland Arrested, Charged With Fraud
Billy MacFarland, who founded the controversial Fyre Festival, was arrested on the charge that he allegedly defrauded investors.
If convicted, the 25-year-old MacFarland could serve up to 20 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed for wire fraud. He was arrested Friday at his Manhattan home, according to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Fyre Festival was scheduled to be held on the last weekend in April, but turned out to be a fiasco. was promoted as a luxurious experience on a private island in the Bahamas, filled with top-quality food, A-list entertainment and celebrities.
Instead, those who attended were met with FEMA tents, cheese sandwiches and sand fleas. Festival-goers documented their disappointing experience on social media, and the story quickly became viral.
— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
McFarland is alleged to have cheated investors who backed the festival and his media company out of more than $1 million.
“McFarland truly put on a show, misrepresenting the financial status of his businesses in order to rake in lucrative investment deals,” said William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office. “In the end, the very public failure of the Fyre Festival signaled that something just wasn’t right.”
McFarland and his partner, the rapper Ja Rule, already face more than a dozen lawsuits filed by ticket buyers and investors in the festival. A lawsuit filed in May in Los Angeles said the festival was “nothing more than a get-rich-quick scam” akin to a Ponzi scheme.
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