Young entrepreneur Billy McFarland was arrested Friday at his Manhattan home and charged with one count of wire fraud in relation to his role in co-organizing the failed Fyre Festival alongside rapper Ja Rule.
According to a report from the New York Times, McFarland is being accused of knowingly misrepresenting information about his company, Fyre Media, when discussing plans for the Fyre Festival, which had taken place in April on the island of Grand Exuma in the Bahamas, yet ended in disaster. As the Inquisitr recalled in May, the music festival had been a problematic one from the get-go; instead of getting first-rate gourmet meals and other accommodations to match the premium ticket prices, festival-goers were forced to deal with crudely-constructed tents, a lack of potable water, and basic cheese sandwiches and salad for dinner.
The New York Times cited a prepared statement from Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who noted that Billy McFarland was arrested for purportedly defrauding investors through bogus literature. If convicted, the 25-year-old businessman potentially faces up to 20 years in prison, though he may more likely receive a lighter, shorter jail sentence.
“McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival.”
Billy McFarland, the entrepreneur behind the Fyre Festival, was arrested and charged with fraud https://t.co/cenFtSivTe— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 1, 2017
As for McFarland’s co-organizer Ja Rule, the rapper was not arrested on Friday, but the New York Times added that he and McFarland are defendants in several other lawsuits. Both men are accused on some of the lawsuits of providing bogus financial details on the literature they had presented to investors; McFarland, for instance, allegedly misreported that Fyre Media earned “millions” from its 2016 and 2017 bookings when the company’s take was supposedly just $57,443.
According to Ja Rule’s lawyer Stacey Richman, she doesn’t believe that the rapper, real name Jeffrey Atkins, is “perceive(d) to be a subject of this investigation.”
Billy McFarland’s arrest comes two months after the Fyre Festival debacle, one which he had chalked up in an April interview with Rolling Stone to a lack of preparation, as well as naivety on the part of the festival’s organizers, including himself.
“We thought we were making timeframes that were correct. We were a little naïve in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves. Next year, we will definitely start earlier. The reality is, we weren’t experienced enough to keep up.”
As a consolation to the concertgoers sent home after the Fyre Festival descended into chaos, McFarland also promised that he will be holding a free concert for those who had signed up for the original event, though he didn’t offer too many details aside from a tentative timeframe (May 2018) and the fact that the concert will be held in the U.S.
With Billy McFarland’s arrest and wire fraud charges now hanging over his head, one has to wonder what may become of those plans to make up for the massive inconvenience Fyre Festival concertgoers experienced.
[Featured Image by Photographyfirm/Shutterstock]