Billy McFarland, the founder of the ill-fated Fyre Festival – called a “complete disaster” by fans – has been jailed for six years.
A judge described the 26-year-old, who pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud earlier this year, as “a serial fraudster” who had been dishonest for “most of his life”.
The festival, staged in April 2017, was marketed as a luxury event in the Bahamas, with some tickets costing as much as $100,000.
However, the event was a disaster with headline act Blink 182 pulling out, and patrons who had no way of leaving the island claiming that they were going without basic essentials such as secure accommodation, food, drink and electricity. The event was postponed after organisers admitted “we didn’t think security could keep up”.
McFarland pleaded guilty in March to two counts of wire fraud related to the festival, but then in July admitted two more counts of fraud relating to another ticket-selling scam that he had set up while on bail.
Addressing the court ahead of sentencing, McFarland said he knew he had “betrayed the trust of my investors, my customers, my family”.
Sentencing on Thursday, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said: “The defendant is a serial fraudster and to date his fraud, like a circle, has no end. Mr McFarland has been dishonest most of his life.”
Earlier this year two Fyre Festival attendees won $5m in a lawsuit against McFarland.
Image: Ian Moran