A filing obtained by The Wrap reports that McFarland’s lawyers made the request to New York Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, citing McFarland’s pre-existing medical conditions as a factor making him more susceptible to the virus. Their statement also argues that the non-violent nature of McFarland’s crimes means he would not be a risk to the public if relocated to home confinement.
“Mr. McFarland has informed us that he has pre-existing conditions that make contracting Covid-19 easier, and which increase his potential to suffer severe health issues and death if he does so, including being diagnosed with asthma as a teenager,” his lawyers said. “Further, he has informed us that he was diagnosed on the ‘extreme’ scale of the allergy spectrum, for issues related to breathing and his cardiovascular system, and that he has experienced heart issues since his early 20’s.”
“Mr. McFarland is not a risk to the community nor a threat to public safety. The crime to which he pled guilty for was the non-violent financial crime of wire fraud. However, he is a low risk of recidivism for such financial crimes as he has explained that he has a supportive family that has attested to providing for his basic needs.”
McFarland is serving a six-year sentence for two counts of wire fraud after pleading guilty in March 2018. He is currently imprisoned in the Elkton Correctional Institute. His lawyers claim that 24 inmates and 14 staff members have already contracted the virus.
Many U.S. correctional facilities have become hotbeds for the virus due to scarce sanitation resources and overcrowding. On April 8, The New York Times reported that at least 1,324 confirmed cases and 32 deaths were linked to prisons and jails.
McFarland engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in Fyre Media LLC and another organization involved with planning the Fyre Festival. The event was hyped as a luxury event in the Bahamas featuring performances from artists such as Blink-182, Migos and Disclosure. The event was a notorious disaster, collapsing into chaos before it even began due to mass-disorganization, a lack of resources for attendees and overcrowding. The magnitude of the fiasco prompted several lawsuits and an FBI investigation.