Billy McFarland, the man behind the Fyre Festival, was arrested on Friday and charged with one count of wire fraud.The festival was marketed as an overly affluent event in the Bahamas in April, but once attendees started arriving it was clear that the whole thing was a debacle and scam.
Ticket packages running as high as $400,000, the event was marketed as a luxurious excursion for affluent millennials on a Bahamian beach, backed by Kendall Jenner and other supermodels on Instagram. The lineup featured appearances by artists like Blink-182, Major Lazer and the Migos.
Upon arrival, attendees expected luxurious cabanas, beautiful waters, and lush dining. Though guests were met with makeshift tents, bare bread with cheese for dinner, lost luggage, and a disorderly mess. By sundown it was apparent the festival was going down in flames and social media was on Fyre.
The organizers who stayed unsettlingly quiet during the fiasco claimed rough weather as a major key in the downfall of Fyre.
Prior to the uproar of it all, individuals who worked or interned in the project started to become more vocal as they were being shut out on details about the status of the festival and even their payroll. It was clear something wasn’t right and they began to ask questions. In the end, McFarland, 25, was unprepared to host an event at such scale but never the less he continued to allow ticket sales.
A large problem in the construction of it all was that stage equipment, that cost millions, was stuck in customs and many, many people were owed thousands for their part in the set up.
Today Federal prosecutors announced that McFarland has been charged in connection to scheming to investors, which included misrepresenting financial information about his company, Fyre Media.
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, McFarland may face a max of 20 years in prison.
In addition to the federal charges, McFarland, and Ja Rule, his partner and once popular Rapper, face over a dozen lawsuits. Some of which include accusations of fabricated financial documents aimed to draw investors.
According to Stacey Richman, a lawyer for Ja Rule, he is not a focus in the current investigation and has not been arrested.