Jun 13, 2018, 4:04 AM ET

Organizer of infamous failed Fyre Festival arrested for allegedly duping ticket buyers again

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The organizer of the infamous Fyre Festival, a failed concert in the Bahamas in 2017 that went viral for its lack of success, has been charged with duping customers again.

William McFarland, who is still awaiting sentencing for the failed festival, has now been charged by the Southern District of New York with selling tickets that did not exist to marquee sports and music events. McFarland ran the company NYC VIP Access, which advertised tickets to events such as the Met Gala, Burning Man, Coachella, the 2018 Grammy Awards and Super Bowl LII, despite not actually having any tickets to the events, according to the complaint unsealed Tuesday.

McFarland was trying to sell the tickets in March, the same month he pleaded guilty to defrauding investors for the Fyre Festival, prosecutors allege.

Billy McFarland, center, accompanied by his attorney Randall Jackson, left, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York.AP
Billy McFarland, center, accompanied by his attorney Randall Jackson, left, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York.

He has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

"In March of 2018, William McFarland pled guilty to defrauding investors and vendors of the Fyre Festival, but it is apparent that he did not stop there," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. "McFarland allegedly went on to sell fraudulent tickets to many grand events, totaling almost $100,000."

According to the filing, McFarland tried to cover up his involvement in NYC VIP Access by using a then-employee's email account instead of his own, according to the filing. He tricked at least 15 people into buying the nonexistent tickets.

Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York.AP
Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York.

The Fyre Festival garnered national headlines in April 2017 after being advertised as an idyllic getaway to the Bahamas, complete with gourmet food, luxury accommodations, performances by Ja Rule and Blink-182. The event was advertised on social media by Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and other high-profile social media influencers. Tickets for the event cost thousands of dollars, but when attendees arrived they found poorly built tents, a lack of food and clean water and an insufficient number of public toilets.

McFarland pleaded guilty in connection to the Fyre Festival fiasco on March 6 to one count of wire fraud after defrauding over 80 investors out of $24 million, and another count of wire fraud for lying to the company selling tickets, which took over $2 million in losses, according to the Southern District of New York. He faces up to 10 years in prison on those counts.

Hulu announced in April it was producing a documentary series about the Fyre Festival.

News - Organizer of infamous failed Fyre Festival arrested for allegedly duping ticket buyers again

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CComments

  • Hey Beavis

    Sociopath

  • End of Life Ritual

    I don't understand how he could have thought he'd get away with this.

  • Birmingham Jail Cell

    The dishonest scumbag reminds me of President Bone-spurred Bonehead.
    He lies, he makes promises, he delivers nothing.

  • Eddie Lovecraft

    When this despicable, poor excuse for a human is sentenced, he deserves the maximum sentence on all counts and he should serve them consecutively.

  • poultrygeist

    Check this guy's dna. I bet bet there's some Donny in there.

  • Bill Snith

    I'm betting maybe, MAYBE, a year in jail and some fines and he'll come out the other end still rich

  • disqus_fn5s2QCDp8

    Frustrating. Most of us are too decent to steal, with the added irritation that we'd like to think that if we had stolen $26 million, we'd BE SMART ENOUGH TO GO AWAY. Was he just to cheap to pay the fees for an expedited passport?

  • Kirby

    It's like these people just can't stop. He's awaiting sentencing for one scam and he just can't not pull another. Manafort has done the same thing multiple times, except instead of scamming people he keeps colluding with Russians in defiance of court orders.

  • hold-the-phone

    Guys like this are the lowest of the low. They need to put him in a cell with "PharmaBro" and let them fight for our entertainment... One year off your sentence for a clean knockout.

  • TexasVulcan

    Is this guy not in prison now? Why?

  • JuPMod

    Fraudsters, like this guy, need to be lock up for a very long time. They rob people of their money, thus why should they get less time in jail than anyone else who robs? I say lock them up.

  • Indy

    There's never a shortage of greedy snake oil salesman / conmen just waiting for the next honest trusting soul to come around so that they can separate them from their money. Sure hope that this one receives a substantial amount of time behind bars since he definitely deserves it.