The founder of the deliberately mis-sold Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland, has been jailed for six years for fraud.
Fyre Festival took place in April 2017. It was billed as a ‘cultural moment created from a blend of music, art and food’ in the Bahamas. It claimed to offer a stay in a ‘geodesic dome’ and many other activities such as yoga and kayaking, as well as luxury villas and gourmet meals.
In reality, attendees arrived at a small island with tents, pre-packaged sandwiches and very little organization, having paid between $1,200 and $100,000 for tickets.
McFarland was described a judge as a ‘serial fraudster’. US attorney for Manhattan Geoffrey Berman said: “Today, McFarland found out the hard way that empty promises don’t lead to jet-setting, champagne and extravagant parties – they lead to federal prison.”
McFarland pleaded guilty in March to two counts of wire fraud related to the festival, but then in July admitted two more counts of fraud relating to another ticket-selling scam that he had set up while on bail.
Fyre festival was promoted via Instagram with high-profile models and celebrities such as Emily Ratjakowski, Kendall Jenner and Blink 182. The reality, however, was a bit more stale:
— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017