The fyre has finally burnt out.
The long saga of the disastrous Fyre Festival is now at its end. Billy McFarland, the 26-year old founder of Fyre Festival, has been sentenced to six years in prison. McFarland pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and defrauding investors. He also pled guilty to running a ticket-selling scam while he was out on bail for the original charges.
While awaiting sentencing his lawyer attempted to get leniency from the Manhattan judge overseeing the charges by claiming McFarland committed the scams due to mental illness.
During the sentencing hearing, the judge stated that this case was “unique in this court’s memory” considering McFarland committed more fraud while on bail and lied to federal law enforcement agents. She stated that “The defendant is a serial fraudster and to date his fraud, like a circle, has no end. Mr. McFarland has been dishonest most of his life.”
The prosecutor for the case asked for a prison term of 11 years, calling McFarland a “consummate con artist”. They added, “He betrayed and deceived his investors, customers, and employees while he was living the high life at his luxury apartment, traveling to exclusive locales, staying at luxury hotels, being chauffeured in his Maserati, and entertaining himself and his friends at restaurants, bars, and casinos.”McFarland was facing potentially up to 14 years behind bars.
While this is an end to Fyre Festival and Billy McFarland’s federal court case, he is still facing multiple civil suits. Locals in Exuma are also still left with a sense of unfinished business. The Bahamas was never paid import taxes on the goods brought in for the festival and local workers have still yet to be paid.
Many would have liked to see McFarland behind bars for longer, but luckily he will be there for the next six years at least. Hopefully, he learned his lesson although it seems unlikely.