News

Man behind Fyre Festival disaster busted for scamming attendees — again

Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland arrested for scamming — again. The crooked promoter of the disastrous Fyre Festival went back to defrauding people after he was arrested last year — and his newest victims include angry attendees of his infamously shoddy 2017 music festival, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Billy McFarland was rearrested Tuesday and charged with earning $100,000 by selling fake tickets to exclusive fashion, music and sporting events through NYC VIP Access, a company he controlled.

He was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering and faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.

Manhattan federal prosecutors say McFarland, 26, began running the ticket scheme in late 2017 — just months after his June 2017 arrest for defrauding investors of his Fyre Media company out of $24 million.

While on pretrial release over the Fyre Media scheme, McFarland targeted attendees of the disastrous Fyre Festival to purchase tickets to exclusive events that didn’t actually exist, including tickets to the 2018 Met Gala, according to the complaint.

McFarland used a spreadsheet identifying the Fyre Festival attendees with the highest salaries, the feds said.

A magistrate judge ordered him detained Tuesday after prosecutors said they have evidence that McFarland may have also committed bank fraud and identity theft while out on bail.

Billy McFarland

“Mr. McFarland is a serial fraudster plain and simple,” prosecutor Kristy Greenberg told the judge.

“We vigorously contest what is in this complaint,” his lawyer Randall Jackson told the judge.

The feds began looking into McFarland’s Fyre Media after he made headlines in April 2017 for luring wealthy young people to the Caribbean by promising them a weekend-long music festival complete with models and accommodations — only to cancel the event on the first day.

Attendees complained that they arrived to leaky tents, cheese sandwiches and inadequate toilets.

 

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