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Fyre Festival founder arrested for fraud

By | Published on Monday 3 July 2017

Fyre Festival

The man behind the disastrous Fyre Festival was arrested on a wire fraud charge last week, the US authorities confirmed on Friday. Billy McFarland faces charges in relation to allegations that he misrepresented the financial status of his business Fyre Media in order to get access to a big pile of cash.

As much previously reported, McFarland teamed up with Ja Rule to launch the Fyre Festival, which was touted as a super luxurious music event in the Bahamas. Publicised by a range of social media influencers, customers were promised a luxury experience in return for their top dollar tickets. In the end the festival crashed and burned before it had even properly started, as it became clear management hadn’t put the infrastructure in place to run a bog standard event, let alone the luxurious experience that had been marketed.

A flurry of litigation has since followed launched by angry ticket holders, suppliers and investors. And it then emerged that McFarland’s businesses – which also included a talent app the festival was designed to launch – were under investigation by the Southern District Of New York and the FBI.

Last week’s charges mainly relate to allegations that McFarland lied to investors who pumped money into his companies, including altering financial documents to obscure how little revenue the business actually had.

McFarland appeared in court in New York on Saturday in relation to last week’s charges. He was granted bail after posting a $300,000 bond, less than prosecutors were pushing for. Though the court was told by his public defender that McFarland was now so broke he couldn’t afford to hire his own legal representation, and that he would be moving back in with his parents to save costs. He is now due back in court on 7 Jul.