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Creator of doomed Fyre Festival gets six-year prison sentence

Billy McFarland defrauded investors of tens of millions of dollars.
Edgar Alvarez, @abcdedgar
October 11, 2018
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Variety

Billy McFarland, the founder of the disastrous Fyre Festival from 2017, has been sentenced to six years in a federal prison, The New York Times reports. The 26-year-old was found guilty of defrauding investors, an act he admitted to earlier this year. McFarland told prosecutors then that Fyre Media got $26 million from lenders by lying and forging documents, for what was then billed as "the cultural experience of the decade." As we know now, though, Fyre Festival ended up being the completely opposite of that, leaving attendees stranded at airports and eating sad cheese sandwiches instead of the five-star meals McFarland and his group promised them.

Bands like Blink 182, which were supposedly set to perform at the event, never even showed up to the Bahamas, where the Fyre Festival was taking place. "The organizers assured us that all measures were taken to ensure a safe and successful event," the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said in a statement in 2017, "but clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale." Thousands of people also bought tickets thinking they'd be hanging out with supermodels such as Kendal Jenner, but that was obviously just another lie.

"The defendant is a serial fraudster," Manhattan federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said on Thursday, according to ABC News. "Mr. McFarland is a fraudster and not simply a misguided young man. Bad intent was longstanding."

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