“This is a serial fraudster whose acts have no end,” the judge said.
A court in the United States sentenced 26-year-old businessman Billy Macfarland to six years in prison for fraud in organizing the disastrous Fyre Festival in one of the Bahamas, BBC and Vice reported . The businessman, who in May confessed guilt, was threatened with up to 14 years in prison.
After six years in the prison of McFarland, although he will be released, he will spend three years under the supervision of law enforcement agencies. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $ 26.2 million. Where it will take that kind of money is not yet clear.
During the court hearings, McFarland stated several times that he was very sorry, and after the verdict he noted that he felt remorse: “Every day I lived with the feeling that I literally destroyed the lives of my friends and relatives.”
McFarland asked the judge for leniency and emphasized that since his arrest he had faced prison violence. The lawyers also noted that in October he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The entrepreneur convinced the judge that it was best to release him so that he would correct himself “through subsequent actions.”
However, the judge did not accept the arguments of the defendant: “ My conclusion is based on all the materials, according to which the accused is a serial fraudster whose fraudulent actions, as if a circle, have no end ”. According to him, even the presence of bipolar disorder does not justify the behavior of the organizer of the Fyre Festival.
Thus, the judge agreed with the accusation, which claimed that McFarland had deceived investors, customers and employees, “while he lived a luxurious life, traveled to exclusive places, stayed in luxury hotels, driving around on Maserati, and entertained in restaurants, bars and casinos.”
At the end of April 2017, McFarland together with rapper Ja Rule planned to organize the elite music festival Fyre Fest. According to the announcements, festival guests were promised major artists like Blink-182 and Migos, famous guests like Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratakovski, food from a famous chef and comfortable apartments. Tickets cost several thousand dollars.
However, those who arrived at the Fyre Fest did not find a single musician and restaurant, but only broken tents and terrible food from containers. The media called the event “the worst festival in history.”
In May 2017, McFarland, in response to criticism, announced plans to try again to organize the festival a year later. The entrepreneur was detained in July, accusing him of fraud and manipulation of financial statements for investors. He was charged withnot only the situation with the Fyre Festival, but also the sale of non-existent tickets to other major events – Coachella, Burning Man and Super Bowl.