Although Billy McFarland is currently in jail for scamming thousands of people during the failed Fyre Festival, his victims are still yet to be paid. To help pay back some of McFarland’s debts, Fyre Fest merchandise will be up-for-grabs.
The United States Marshals Service of Manhattan will auction off authentic Fyre Fest merchandise they discovered while searching through McFarland’s assets to help pay back the $26 million he still owes the victims. During the search, two boxes of merchandise was found, along with $240,000 in a bank account, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson told Vulture.
“We have an assortment of the ‘real thing’ Fyre Festival-branded tee-shirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, hats, wristbands and medallions,” the spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service’s Manhattan office said in an email response. “We know that there is tremendous interest in these items in the NY metro area in particular. … The USMS will dispose (or sell) the Fyre merchandise in the most efficient, cost-effective way in the best interests of the U.S. Government. We utilize our contracted partners to handle the marketing and sale and it will be an online auction.”
These boxes of merchandise were supposed to be used at the notorious Fyre Fest – the 2017 failed music festival that was supposed to take place in the Bahamas. While thousands of people showed up for the festival, which was billed as a luxurious event with villas, top-notch cuisine, and A-list musicians, they were met with wet tents, boxed lunches, and no music. The festival reportedly spiraled out of control days ahead of the event, which was outlined in Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, and Hulu’s Fyre Fraud documentaries. Many attendees, workers, and employers were never paid.
McFarland faced a slew of charges, and was sentenced to six years in prison last year on six counts of wire fraud. Last summer, two victims were awarded $5 million, but there are still more than a dozen lawsuits pending across the country. He already owes $24 million after his SEC settlement and has been ordered to pay $3 million to an investor who sponsored the event. While court papers note that “the United States has not been able to locate, obtain or collect additional assets traceable to the proceeds of the defendant’s fraud offense,” these merchandise items might be able to help.
According to the Associated Press, this isn’t the first time the U.S. Marshals Service has used this tactic to pay off criminals’ debts; fourteen pairs of Ponzi scammer Bernie Madoff’s underwear sold for $200 at an auction. The Fyre Fest items will reportedly go on sale in an online auction, but a date has not been announced at this time. Once the apparel is sold, the money will be distributed to the would-be festivalgoers based on their respective losses.
“Our objective always is to get the funds back to the victims as fast as we can in cases where there are victims,” the Marshals said.