×

Fyre Festival Founder Billy McFarland Arrested for New Ticket-Selling Fraud

Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland, who pleaded guilty to two counts wire fraud in March, was charged Tuesday with running a fraudulent ticket-selling scam while he was out on bail and faces new charges, federal prosecutors told the New York Times on Tuesday.

McFarland was rearrested Tuesday and charged with earning $100,000 by selling fake tickets to events including the Coachella Festival and the Met Gala through NYC VIP Access, a company he controlled, and attempted to hide his involvement by sending sale proceeds to other people’s bank accounts, according to multiple news reports.

The charges add third count of wire fraud onto the existing two counts, as well as a count of money laundering. Each of the four counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, although, on the initial charges at least, he was realistically looking at a much lighter sentence.

Prosecutors said McFarland, 26, began running the scheme late last year, several months after his arrest for defrauding Fyre investors out of $26 million. They also allege that he may have committed bank fraud and identity theft in the past few months.

“William McFarland, already awaiting sentencing for a prior fraud scheme, allegedly continued to conduct criminal business as usual,” United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on his original charges next week. An attorney for McFarland did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.

The heavily hyped Fyre Festival was to be a “luxury concert” — taking place on a small island in the Bahamas and featuring Blink-182, Migos and Disclosure — but collapsed on in a mess of disorganization on April 29 before it had even started. Far from the luxury accommodations and celebrity-chef-prepared meals promised by its producers —McFarland and rapper Ja Rule — concertgoers were met with flimsy tents, boxed lunches, near-total disorganization and long waits for flights to return to the mainland after airlines began refusing to fly would-be concertgoers to the overcrowded island of Exumas.

One production professional briefly associated with the festival told Variety the event was marked by “incompetence on an almost inconceivable scale.”

 

 

 

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Azim Rashid

    Columbia Records Names Azim Rashid Head of Urban Promotion

    Azim Rashid has been named senior vice president and head of urban promotion at Columbia Records, SVP Promotion/Operations Jim Burruss announced today. The Sony Music label’s urban roster includes Lil Nas X, Taylor the Creator, Russ, Dej Loaf Dominic Fike, OBN Jay and Polo G, among others. Rashid arrives from Roc Nation where he also served [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Says ‘Many’ Suing Artists’ Masters Were Not Damaged in 2008 Fire

    UPDATED: Late Friday the attorneys representing Soundgarden, Steve Earle and the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac amended their lawsuit against Universal Music Group over damages to their music archives as a result of a 2008 fire. While most of the amended complaint updated details in the original document — adding information about UMG’s alleged [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Music fans listen to the band

    Woodstock Gets a Low-Key 50th Party With Ringo, Santana and That Album Cover Couple

    After efforts to stage a massive event celebrating Woodstock’s 50th anniversary failed to materialize, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in New York’s Catskills region became the only game in town. For months, organizers quietly promoted a weekend of concerts that would put the focus on the 1969 event and its musical and cultural [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen FYSEE Opening Night with

    Bruce Springsteen Drops Introspective Trailer for 'Western Stars' Film

    While initial reports about Bruce Springsteen’s forthcoming documentary around his recent “Western Stars” album said that it would essentially be a concert film, the first trailer for it, which dropped today, suggests it’s going to be a more introspective outing, more in line with his autobiographical performances at “Springsteen on Broadway” in 2017 and 2018, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content