Man behind Fyre Festival flop ordered to pay investors $26M

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2018 | Blog, Fraud

Fyre Festival ignites controversy after collapse

Last summer, thousands of would-be concert attendees flocked to the Bahamas for what they thought would be the festival of a lifetime. The Fyre Festival was promoted as a one-of-a-kind opportunity where attendees could see big-name headliners perform while enjoying luxurious accommodations.

Unfortunately, the event did not go as anticipated. The festival’s organizers ran into financial difficulty and were unable to pay event staff and its performers, bringing the event to an abrupt halt. When concert-goers arrived at the island, they were told that some of the artists had canceled. The attendees were provided with cheese sandwiches in lieu of the promised gourmet meals and were forced to sleep on makeshift cots instead of yachts. Instead of seeing their favorite artists, some attendees found themselves stranded in the airport unable to leave the island.

Following the incident, the festival’s founder was charged with two counts of federal wire fraud and his promising career went up in flames.

Festival founder pleads guilty to wire fraud

Billy McFarland, the man behind the festival, plead guilty last month to two counts of federal wire fraud charges. McFarland told the court that he provided investors with false documents in order to secure their investments. Investors and vendors were told that the company had raised millions of dollars in revenue to book talent and host the event. Soon it was discovered that they had only raised $57,000. One vendor also claims that McFarland convinced him to purchase $2 million worth of tickets for future festivals under the same false pretenses.

The Federal Judge has ordered McFarland to compensate investors for the $26 Million they are owed. A wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of up to of eight to ten years meaning he could spend up to 20 years in prison for his mistake.

It’s important to note that there are defenses to wire fraud charges. A skilled attorney can aggressively defend the accused and fight for their rights. There are a number of reasons that people with good intentions are falsely accused of wire fraud. If you’re facing such charges an attorney may be able to help you to fight the allegations and protect your reputation.

FindLaw Network
Gary Jay Kaufman
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