Fyre Festival Promoter Arrested for Wire (Wyre?) Fraud

If you’re having a bad day, read this.

Billy McFarland, the guy who grossly overpromised and underdelivered on the disastrous Fyre Festival back in April, has been arrested for wire fraud. He was busted by federal authorities Friday on charges that could land him in jail for 20 years.

As if he didn’t have enough problems. He’s already dealing with more than a dozen lawsuits over the festival. And he’s too broke to hire an attorney.

Here’s what the New York Times says:

Federal prosecutors announced the charge involves a scheme to defraud investors, which included misrepresenting financial information about Mr. McFarland’s company, Fyre Media. His representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement: “McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival.” If convicted, Mr. McFarland could face a maximum of 20 years in prison, but is likely to receive a lesser sentence.

[…]

According to the complaint, sworn to by Brandon Racz, a special agent with the F.B.I., at least two people invested about $1.2 million in the two companies, and in communications with these investors in 2016 and 2017, Mr. McFarland repeatedly overstated Fyre Media’s revenue from bookings and his own wealth.

He said Fyre Media had earned millions of dollars from thousands of bookings this year and last. But in reality, the complaint said, his company had taken in only $57,443.

And in one communication with an investor, Mr. McFarland supplied a Scottrade statement that he had altered to inflate his ownership of a particular company’s stock. According to the complaint, the fake document showed that Mr. McFarland owned $2.5 million in shares, when in reality his position was worth $1,500.

At the moment, Ja Rule, Billy’s partner in the fiasco, is not under arrest.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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