Fyre Festival founder and Fyre Media owner Billy McFarland was arrested on Friday and charged with wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The charges, related to McFarland’s organizing the Fyre Festival, allege that McFarland schemed to defraud investors. His arrest is allegedly the result of an investigation by the FBI, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
According to CBC, McFarland has been released on a $300,000 bail. Exiting the courthouse, he told reporters that he would love to speak to them, but couldn’t.
The Fyre Festival, held in April this year, was billed as the ultimate in luxury destinations. Ostensibly held to promote the Fyre music booking app, the festival was held on a private island in the Bahamas, costing $1,500 for a single day ticket; luxury packages were sold for $12,000; some packages ranged up to $250,000. The event was co-organized by rapper Ja Rule, and promoted on social media by celebrities including Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid.
Unfortunately, the reality fell somewhat short of expectations.
According to VIP attendees, they arrived to an “impromptu beach party” on a dark, empty beach, featuring a few tent canopies and some folding chairs. Terrified messages quickly filled social media, as guests of the festival questioned whether they would actually be able to find food and shelter; a far cry from the luxury accommodations and gourmet food that they were promised.
The “ultra-luxurious” accommodations turned out to be spartan dome tents and a pile of mattresses – in actuality, they were disaster relief tents. The gourmet meals were mostly plain bread and processed cheese.
None of the promised acts showed up; Blink-182, the show’s headliners, pulled out at the last minute and are allegedly still fighting to free their vehicle and equipment from “customs limbo.” Ultimately, the Fyre Festival was canceled, which McFarland attributed to a variety of outside factors, including the weather. He promised to “make this right.”
According to the Denver Post, Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement on Friday that McFarland presented investors with fake documents to induce them to invest over a million dollars in Fyre Media. Allegedly, McFarland presented figures suggesting that the company had already earned millions of dollars from making thousands of bookings; in reality, Fyre Media had, at the time, earned a total of $60,000 from 60 bookings.
And that, allegedly, is nothing compared to the amount of money that McFarland’s company still owes, with more than a dozen lawsuits currently in process against the company.
According to attorney Stacey Richman, Ja Rule, real name Jeffrey Atkins, is not currently under investigation.
“Mr. Atkins is not under arrest and we don’t perceive him to be a subject of this investigation.”
[Featured Image by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images]