Already facing a number of lawsuits related to the implosion of the Fyre Festival earlier this year, Billy McFarland was arrested on Friday by federal authorities and charged with one count of wire fraud. According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York, he made false representations to investors in order to gain their support for the venture.
“As alleged, William McFarland promised a ‘life changing’ music festival but in actuality delivered a disaster,” says acting U.S> Attorney Joon Kim. “McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival. Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, McFarland will now have to answer for his crimes.”
The charge McFarland faces carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Billed as a luxurious escape for the ultra-elite who could afford its exorbitant price tags and desired its posh accommodations, the Fyre Fest failed spectacularly. Guests arriving to the Bahamas found sub-standard accommodations, minimal food, and no first aid staff. It was cancelled after its first day, leaving angry ticket buyers, investors and workers in its wake.
Several civil lawsuits have been filed already against McFarland and the rest of the Fyre organization, but this is the first criminal charge related to the event.