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Billy McFarland must pay $26 million for Fyre festival fiasco

  March 10, 2018  ~    8.45 MB
Billy McFarland must pay $26 million for Fyre festival fiasco




Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland has been ordered to shell out $26 million as part of a money judgment filed on Tuesday.The 26-year-old business owner pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in a Manhattan federal court in a deal with prosecutors that suggested he serve between eight and 10 years in prison.McFarland admitted to lying to investors and falsifying documents in a bid to raise funds for the lavish event.'I deeply regret my actions, and I apologize to my investors, team, family, and supporters who I let down,' he told the court.McFarland has been blamed for the failure of the highly anticipated Fyre Festival which was set to take place in the Bahamian island of Exuma over the course of two weekends in April and May 2017.He had teamed up with rapper Ja Rule to launch the event as a way to build the digital app, Fyre music.The app allowed individuals organizing commercial events, such as concerts, to bid for artist and celebrity bookings at such events.Packages to the event ranged from $1,200 to 100,000 and promised performances by A-list artists such as Migos, Blink-182, and Disclosure.The festival was heavily promoted on social media and billed as 'the cultural experience of the decade' touting plush villas and gourmet food.Celebrities including Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Emily Ratijkowski were also paid to promote the event on Instagram.However, the project completely fell apart due to lack of funds, and guests arrived at a barren island with inadequate food, water, or shelter, leading them to believe they had been scammed.McFarland acknowledged in court that he 'grossly underestimated' the resources necessary to hold the event and admitted he gave false information about the state of the festival to a ticket vendor in order to acquire $2 million for a block of advance tickets.Joon H.Kim, the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F.Sweeney Jr.,assistant director-in-charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI, released a statement following McFarland's arrest.'McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival,' Kim said.'Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, McFarland will now have to answer for his crimes.' In addition to the federal charges, McFarland, along with Ja Rule, was also hit with multiple class action suits brought on by angry customers.Grant Margolin, the festival's 24-year-old chief marketing officer, was also named in the lawsuits.Ja Rule was said to have been the least involved of the three - that McFarland was the 'decision maker' and that Margolin was far more involved.After news of the disaster broke, Rule had tweeted explaining: 'I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT .but I'm taking responsibility I'm deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced by this.' McFarland, who is the CEO of two other businesses, was arrested last June.He is scheduled to be sente