Entrapreneur Billy McFarland, the infamous leader behind 2017’s failed Fyre Festival, has been ordered to pay back $3 million to an investor who sponsored the event.
Earlier this week, New York County Judge Joel H. Cohen handed out a default judgement in favor of EHL Funding, the defrauded investor, after McFarland “failed to appear, answer or otherwise move in this action.” The judge ordered McFarland to pay back the $3 million loan as well as the contractually stipulated 30 percent interest. Additionally, EHL Funding is asking McFarland to reimburse them for attorney’s fees.
In 2017, EHL Funding loaned McFarland $3 million toward Fyre Festival, however in April of that year, Fyre stopped paying back the loan. During that same month, the luxurious, high-end festival left concertgoers feeling scammed after they showed up to a disastrous, unorganized event with nothing that they had expected. While McFarland had promised villas on the beach, top-chef cuisine, and numerous musical guests, concertgoers found wet tents, ham sandwiches, and no performers.
The new judgement from EHL Funding will be added to his previous debt; McFarland already owes $24 million after his SEC settlement. Last July, McFarland, his two companies Magnesis and Fyre, and a former contractor and executive were charged with fraud for misleading over 100 investors into providing $24.7 million toward his failed businesses. Additionally, two festival goers won $5 million in damages from a lawsuit against McFarland after he did not respond to court proceedings for a year.
McFarland was arrested last year, and in October, he pleaded guilty to fraud. While he could have faced up to 20 years in prison, he is now serving a six-year sentence at a prison in New York. Currently, McFarland and Fyre Festival co-creator Ja Rule are facing a $100 million lawsuit from the celebrity law firm Geragos & Geragos, and another class action lawsuit, filed by multiple ticket holders, is still pending.
Recently, Netflix and Hulu released documentaries about McFarland, his companies, and the unfortunate events leading up to the dreadful festival.