Fyre Festival: Founder Billy McFarland jailed for six years

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File image of Billy McFarland from July 30, 2016Picture copyright
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Billy McFarland acknowledged he had betrayed folks’s belief in him

The founding father of the ill-fated Fyre Competition – referred to as a “full catastrophe” by followers – has been jailed for six years by a US decide.

Billy McFarland, 26, pleaded responsible to fraud earlier this yr.

A decide on Thursday described him as “a serial fraudster” who had been dishonest for “most of his life”.

Partygoers had been promised a luxurious occasion within the Bahamas however as an alternative had been stranded on an island with out sufficient meals, water or lodging.

The occasion in April 2017 was finally cancelled and tons of of individuals evacuated.

Tickets had value between $1,200 and $100,000 (£900 and £75,000).

“At this time, McFarland discovered the laborious manner that vacant guarantees do not result in jet-setting, champagne and lavish events – they result in federal jail,” mentioned US Lawyer for Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman.

Addressing the court docket on Thursday, McFarland mentioned he knew he had “betrayed the belief of my buyers, my prospects, my household”.

  • Fyre Competition cancelled after ‘chaos’

He mentioned the sentencing was an “extraordinarily bitter actuality”.

McFarland pleaded responsible in March to 2 counts of wire fraud associated to the competition, however then in July admitted two extra counts of fraud relating to a different ticket-selling rip-off that he had arrange whereas on bail.

In October, prosecutors requested that McFarland serve between 11 and 14 years in jail, describing him as “the consummate con artist”.

Sentencing on Thursday, Decide Naomi Reice Buchwald mentioned McFarland was “distinctive on this court docket’s reminiscence”.

“The defendant is a serial fraudster and up to now his fraud, like a circle, has no finish,” she informed the court docket in Manhattan. “Mr McFarland has been dishonest most of his life.”

Fyre Competition was billed as a “cultural second created from a mix of music, artwork and meals” within the Bahamas.

Tickets included a flight from Miami; a keep in a “geodesic dome” and actions together with yoga and kayaking.

It had initially been marketed with an Instagram video that includes well-known fashions crusing on a luxurious yacht and high music acts equivalent to Blink-182 had been on the invoice.

However festival-goers posted movies and images on-line of the “mass chaos” and “a compete catastrophe”.

The rapper Ja Rule, who was initially described as a co-organiser of the occasion, was not arrested or charged in reference to the fraud.

His attorneys have since argued that McFarland used the artist’s title and connections to advertise the occasion.

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