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Fyre Festival Creator Billy McFarland Arrested and Charged with Wire Fraud

If convicted, McFarland could face up to 20 years in jail.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Update [July 2, 10:27AM CST]: McFarland was released on $300,000 bail Saturday.

Update [July 1, 9:06AM CST]: Stacey Richman, a lawyer for Ja Rule, told THUMP over email, the rapper, "is stunned and disappointed by the allegations. He truly believes and believed in Mr. McFarland."

Billy McFarland, the creator of the infamous Fyre Festival which was cancelled in April due to storm damage, flight cancellations and a lack of promised accommodations, was arrested by federal agents on Friday and charged with one count of wire fraud.


According to a report from the New York Times, McFarland's charge stems from, "a scheme to defraud investors which included misrepresenting financial information about Mr. McFarland's company, Fyre Media."

"McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival," said Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. According to the New York Times, two people invested around $1.2 million in McFarland's companies. McFarland reportedly overstated Fyre Media's "revenue from bookings and his own wealth."

McFarland could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. A representative for Fyre Media did not immediately return a request for comment.

This arrest is just the latest legal setback for McFarland. Since the controversy and public cancellation of the Fyre Festival, McFarland and Ja Rule, his business partner in Fyre Media and the Fyre Festival, have been hit with more than a dozen lawsuits from investors and festival guests.

In May, we wrote about how to throw a destination music festival that doesn't end in disaster.