And Finally Business News Legal

Fyre Festival fraudster out of prison

By | Published on Thursday 19 May 2022

Billy McFarland

Billy McFarland – the Fyre Festival founder and fraudster – has been released from prison, it has emerged, although he will seemingly remain in a so called halfway house until the end of August.

The Fyre Festival, of course, was the infamous luxury music event staged in the Bahamas in 2017 that fell apart just as it was starting when it became clear McFarland and his team hadn’t put in place the infrastructure for even a basic festival, let alone the premium party experience that had been promoted and promised.

The companies behind the festival and various related ventures quickly fell apart as civil litigation filed by McFarland’s investors, suppliers and ticket-buyers started to mount up. And then came the criminal investigation that ultimately found that McFarland had defrauded his financial backers.

He was sentenced to six years in jail back in 2018, which was a pretty good result given the crimes he was accused of could have resulted in a 40 year jail stint. It was assumed that he wouldn’t actually be in prison for the full six years, although a request to move to house arrest in 2020 on COVID grounds was rejected.

But, according to TMZ, McFarland was formally released into the custody of New York’s Residential Reentry Management agency at the end of March, and he will now be held at a halfway house run by that agency until the end of August.

Talking of incarcerated dicks with loose links to the music industry, it was also announced yesterday that another celebrity fraudster, Martin Shkreli, has been moved from prison to a halfway house – and one also run by New York’s Residential Reentry Management – where he will remain until 14 Sep.

Shkreli came to public attention in 2015 after buying the rights to the life-saving drug Daraprim and massively increasing the price. He was then sentenced to seven years in prison in 2018 after being found guilty of fraud.

However, along the way he had some music industry connections. First, a label he had invested in, Collect Records, was forced to cut all ties in the wake the Daraprim controversy. Then it turned out he’d bought the one and only copy of Wu Tang album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’.

The US government then seized the Wu Tang record as part of the fraud case against Shkreli, last year selling it to a collective of NFT collectors called PleasrDAO.