McFARLAND also provided Vendor-1 with a fraudulent income statement for Fyre Media that grossly inflated the Companys revenue and income. McFarland borrowed as much as $7 million in an effort to fund the festival, taking one loan with an effective annualized rate of 120 percent. [24] McFarland was arrested by federal agents on June 30, 2017, and charged with wire fraud in relation to Fyre and Fyre Festival. As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Can I still be added as a plaintiff in the Fyre Festival civil class action lawsuit? Attendees arrived instead to find total chaos: no musical acts, no planning and only disaster relief tents to sleep in. Los Angeles, CA 90017 The following month, McFarland was arrested and charged with wire fraud in Manhattan federal court for his role in the organization of the festival. The festival, billed as the cultural experience of the decade, had been scheduled for two weekends beginning in late April 2017. It accuses organizers of knowingly lying about the festival's accommodations and safety, reaching out to celebrities and performers to discourage them from coming while continuing to sell ticket packages, which started at $1,200.

McFARLAND also directed Employee-1 to sign the contracts between NYC VIP Access and the customers for the sham ticket sales.

[18], McFarland founded Fyre Media and publicized a luxury music festival in the Bahamas, called Fyre Festival, to promote the Fyre music-booking application. After McFARLAND induced customers to pay for the tickets, McFARLAND either did not provide tickets at all, or did not provide tickets as advertised. Short Hills section of Millburn, New Jersey. [8] He then attended Bucknell University, where he dropped out in May of his freshman year.

McFARLAND overstated the Festivals receivables that he used as collateral for numerous investments to cover Festival expenses. He was sentenced to six years in prison and three on probation for engaging in what prosecutors described as "multiple fraudulent schemes" and making false statements to law enforcement. netflix crime abducted sight In May 2017, McFarland and Ja Rule were sued for $100 million in a class action lawsuit on behalf of Fyre Festival attendees. In 2018, a North Carolina judge awarded $5 million in damages to two attendees who had sued McFarland; Ja Rule was initially named in that suit but was removed from the claim after settling with the two.

Paradise Lost: Luxury Music Festival Turns Out To Be Half-Built Scene Of Chaos, Fighting 'Fyre' With 'Fyre Fraud': Two Documentaries About The Same Disaster, Fyre Festival Hit With $100 Million Suit; Organizer Says 'We Were A Little Naive'. In late 2016, along with rapper Ja Rule, McFarland co-founded the Fyre Festival, a "luxury" music festival intended to promote the Fyre app. Phone: 213-625-3900. In addition, McFARLAND provided falsified documents to investors showing over 2,500 confirmed talent bookings in a single month when, in fact, there were only 60 confirmed talent bookings in the entire year. This isnt the first judgement issued against McFarland over the festival. Ja Rule), was billed as a unique destination concert experience in the Caribbean aimed at young millennials and featuring a number of top musical acts. It was scheduled to take place over two weekends in April and May 2017 in Exumas, Bahamas, with tickets costing between $1,000 and $12,00, according to Meiselas. For example, McFARLAND told investors that a reputable venture capital firm (the VC Firm) had completed its due diligence process and had decided to invest in Fyre Media. Mark Geragos, another lawyer at the firm that represented ticket buyers in Tuesdays settlement, filed the initial $100 million class-action lawsuit days after the event, which stated that Ja Rule and McFarland had known for months that their festival was dangerously underequipped and posed a serious danger to anyone in attendance. McFarland faced a second class-action lawsuit two days later. [6][9][10], After McFarland dropped out of college he founded the short-lived online advertisement platform Spling, where he served as CEO. Nearly four years after an infamous festival that was billed as an ultraluxurious musical getaway in the Bahamas left attendees scrounging for makeshift shelter on a dark beach, a court has decided how much the nightmare was worth: approximately $7,220 apiece. And in September, the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of McFarlands Fyre Media secured settlements regarding payments to artists such as Blink-182, Tyga, Pusha T and Major Lazerwho had been scheduled to perform at the event, reclaiming some of the funds paid. I heard there was a settlement in the Fyre Festival case, will I get any compensation? McFARLAND, 26, of New York, New York, was sentenced to 6 years in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a $500 special assessment. Ben Meiselas, the lawyer representing the ticketholders, told the Times he was pleased with the resolution, calling it "justice" that Mr McFarland was jailed and ticketholders would get some money back. The plaintiff is named as Daniel Jung, acting individually and as a representative of "a class of similarly-situated persons. The originally $100m class-action lawsuit was filed days after the infamous festival was cancelled. Subsequently, from late 2017 through March 2018, McFARLAND owned and operated NYC VIP Access, a company based in New York, New York. Assistant United State Attorney Kristy J. Greenberg is in charge of the prosecution. In furtherance of the fraudulent ticket scheme and to conceal his involvement in NYC VIP Access, McFARLAND took steps to make NYC VIP Access appear as it if were controlled and operated by other individuals.

He is currently being held in at a federal facility in Oklahoma City and is scheduled to be released Aug. 30, 2023. Our firm (Geragos & Geragos, APC) has reached out to all individuals who we currently represent as members in the Fyre Festival civil class action lawsuit. [29], On October 11, 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in federal prison. And last May, Kendall Jenner agreed to pay $90,000 for promoting the festival in a social media post. fyre mcfarland

The original class-action suit was filed in April 2017 against Fyre Media, McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, who was advertised as the festival's co-founder, and sought $100 million in damages. McFarland and his company, Fyre Media, have faced some dozen lawsuits in the festival's aftermath.

The event was scheduled to take place in April and May 2017, but was aborted after attendees had arrived due to problems with security, food, logistics, understaffing, accommodations, and talent relations. Judge Buchwald also ordered McFARLAND to forfeit $26,191,306.28. A daily briefing on what matters in the music industry. The festival, which was conceived by McFarland and his business partner, hip-hop artist Jeffrey Atkins (a.k.a. For his part, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison on Oct. 11, 2018 for fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud investors, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York. McFARLAND made repeated misrepresentations to investors with respect to their investments in Fyre Festival LLC. A hearing is set for May 13 to approve the settlement for the class action ticket holders. Phone: 213-625-3900, 256 5th Avenue Nearly four years after the infamous festival stranded thousands of attendees in the Bahamas, 277 ticket holders learned they will receive payouts, pending approval. How do I know if I am a part of the civil class action lawsuit? I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am that we fell short of our goal, McFarland said in a 2017 statement, though he declined to address specific allegations. Altogether, McFARLAND obtained approximately $150,000 in fraudulent ticket sales from at least 30 customer-victims of NYC VIP Access. (The debacle spawned two documentaries, on Hulu and Netflix.). [7] McFarland faced up to 4years and 9months under U.S. sentencing guidelines, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristy Greenberg. In 2016, McFARLAND started Fyre Media to build a digital application that would allow individuals organizing commercial events, such as concerts, to bid for artist and celebrity bookings at such events. High-level celebrities and influencers, including models Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin, promoted the event on social media and said they would be in attendance. All Rights Reserved. Not only had Banker-1 not sent that email, Bank-1 had not approved McFARLANDs loan application. McFARLAND also falsely stated to certain of Fyre Medias investors that specific individuals were the acquirers of Magnises, when in fact, they were not. What are policies of final two hoping to be UK PM? The Fyre Festival was promoted by Mr McFarland's Fyre Media as a two-weekend music festival on Fyre Cay, a private island in the Bahamas previously owned by drug lord Pablo Escobar. One St. Andrews Plaza - New York, NY 10007, Human Trafficking & Child Sexual Exploitation, Department of Justice Harassment Prevention Resource. In 2018, two North Carolina residents each obtained $1.5 million in compensatory damages, plus an additional $1 million in punitive damages, for a total award of $5 million after each spent about $13,000 on VIP packages, according to their attorney Stacy Miller. [7] McFarland told the New York Post that at age 13, he founded an online outsourcing startup that matched clients with web designers. For example, McFARLAND represented to investors that Fyre Media had earned millions of dollars of revenue solely from talent bookings; a review of Fyre Medias records showed that those numbers were significantly overstated. McFARLAND pled guilty on March 6, 2018 and July 26, 2018 before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, who imposed todays sentence. Is Europe set for its worst wildfire season? Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect. That settlement is an entirely different case than the civil class action lawsuit. "The festival's lack of adequate food, water, shelter and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions that was closer to 'The Hunger Games' or 'Lord of the Flies' than Coachella," they wrote, adding that efforts to escape were hampered by attendees' reliance on organizers for transportation and the fact that the event had been billed as "cashless.". Now thats justice.. Once the settlement agreement in the bankruptcy case is finalized, we will reach out to those individuals named in the bankruptcy case that will be receiving compensation. ", "Mark Geragos files $100million suit against Fyre Festival", "Fyre Festival lawsuits advance on dual civil, criminal tracks", "Fyre Festival's Billy McFarland pleads not guilty to wire fraud", "Netflix's 'Fyre' director explains how getting the footage of the NYC VIP Access ticket-selling scam was 'kind of an accident', "Billy McFarland admits fraud over 'luxury' event", "Billy McFarland, organizer of disastrous Fyre Festival, pleads guilty to misleading investors", "Fyre Festival organizer sold fake tickets while out on bail, U.S. says", "William McFarland sentenced to 6years in prison in Manhattan Federal Court for engaging in multiple fraudulent schemes and making false statements to a federal law enforcement agent", "Prosecutors rebuff Fyre Fest's Billy McFarland's request for release from prison", "Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland says he's tested positive for COVID-19 as fellow inmate says they're 'sitting ducks', "Fyre Festival Founder Billy McFarland Gets Early Prison Release", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Billy_McFarland_(fraudster)&oldid=1099691929, American businesspeople convicted of crimes, Short description is different from Wikidata, Pages using infobox criminal with known for parameter, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, Six years imprisonment, $26 million in restitution, This page was last edited on 22 July 2022, at 03:35. He adds that the exact amount will be determined at a later date but there will be monetary relief in some form or fashion pending approval.. Ticket holders and event organizers reached a settlement in a class-action suit this week. Alternatively, McFARLAND used mobile payment service accounts belonging to other NYC VIP Access employees to receive customers payments for tickets. My front-row seat for the Fyre Festival chaos, Fund for unpaid Fyre Festival caterer hits 60k, Ja Rule: I was scammed by Fyre Festival too, Grain prices fall as Ukraine and Russia agree food crisis deal, Trump ignored pleas to condemn riot - hearing, Eight key moments from the Capitol riot hearings, 'They ordered me to torture and kill innocent people', Ukraine's frontline farmers toil on amid explosions, 'We've spent years preparing our Comic-Con costumes' Video'We've spent years preparing our Comic-Con costumes'. 644 South Figueroa Street However, the festival experienced a number of serious management, administration, and misrepresentation issues and was canceled after guests had begun to arrive on Great Exuma island. [27] He agreed to forfeit $26million. A hearing to approve Tuesdays settlement is set for May 13. [2][3][4] After pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud in March 2018, he was sentenced to six years in federal penitentiary. Billy McFarland, pictured leaving federal court in March 2018, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges related to the failed Fyre Festival. Instead of an epic festival, their time on the island was filled with disorganization and chaos. None of the musical guests performed, and the festival was canceled the morning after many ticket holders had already arrived. The festival, which sold a total of approximately 8,000 tickets for both weekends, was canceled on the morning it was scheduled to begin, after many attendees had arrived. Lawyers representing the trustee charged with Fyres assets did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McFARLAND, while on pretrial release, perpetrated a scheme to defraud attendees of the Fyre Festival, former customers of Magnises (another company operated by McFARLAND), and other customers by soliciting them to purchase tickets from NYC VIP Access to these exclusive events when, in fact, no such tickets existed. In furtherance of the scheme, McFARLAND repeatedly made materially false statements to investors about Fyre Medias revenue and income, and manipulated Fyre Medias financial statements and supporting documentation to hide Fyre Medias true financial condition. Tuesday's settlement will be finalised during a hearing on 13 May.