Fyre Festival Organizer Charged With Selling Fake Tickets While Out On Bail

Sergio Cunningham
June 13, 2018

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 NY.

Next Thursday, June 21st, a sentencing hearing for McFarland's Fyre Festival wire fraud charges is taking place; he faces up to 40 years in prison.

The "tickets", which were supposedly intended for events including this year's Grammys, the Super Bowl, Coachella, the Met Gala and Burning Man, were sold to 15 people and amounted to almost $100,000.

McFarland is reportedly now facing a new set of charges connected to a post-Fyre Festival ticket scam.

He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of wire fraud stemming from the April 2017 Fyre Festival debacle, in which attendees paid upwards of $250,000 for tickets to attend what McFarland's company billed as an ultra-luxurious music festival that turned out to be an ultra-chaotic mess.

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Speaking in a statement, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: "Today's charges depict our intolerance for such fraudulent activity, and we will continue to diligently investigate acts such as this". The Fyre Festival founder was arrested for allegedly selling fraud tickets for fashion, music and sport events. His lawyer did not immediately comment.

McFarland used a spreadsheet identifying the Fyre Festival attendees with the highest salaries, the feds said.

"The weight of the evidence here is quite strong", Greenberg said. Altogether, about 15 customers were defrauded of a total of $100,000; these people either never received their tickets at all or never received the ones that were originally advertised to them.

McFarland was trying to sell the tickets in March, the same month he pleaded guilty to defrauding investors for the Fyre Festival, prosecutors allege. Each carries a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

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