Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Matthew Castillo

Organizer of infamous failed Fyre Festival charged with duping customers again

Organizer of infamous failed Fyre Festival charged with duping customers again

Billy McFarland in July 2016 in Water Mill, N.Y. After pleading guilty in March to criminal fraud related to his 2017 Fyre Festival, McFarland was accused of yet another event scam on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said over 15 victims had been bilked since late past year of more than $100,000 as McFarland and his workers sold non-existent tickets to the 2018 Met Gala, Burning Man 2018, Coachella 2018, the 2018 Grammy Awards, Super Bowl LII and a Cleveland Cavaliers game that would include a team dinner with Lebron James.

Speaking in a statement, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: "Today's charges depict our intolerance for such fraudulent activity, and we will continue to diligently investigate acts such as this".

Fyre Festival was one of the biggest flops in the history of music festivals.

"I deeply regret my actions, and I apologize to my investors, team, family and supporters who I let down", the Associated Press quoted McFarland as telling the judge in that case the day he pled guilty.

The Fyre Festival garnered national headlines in April 2017 after being advertised as an idyllic getaway to the Bahamas, complete with gourmet food, luxury accommodations, performances by Ja Rule and Blink-182.

McFarland sold almost $100,000 worth of fraudulent tickets to approximately 15 customers through a company he controlled called NYC VIP Access, according to federal prosecutors.

MacFarland was charged Tuesday in NY with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

What's more, McFarland allegedly committed these scams after he had already been charged over Fyre Festival and was awaiting trial.

While on pretrial release over the Fyre Media scheme, McFarland targeted attendees of the disastrous Fyre Festival to purchase tickets to exclusive events that didn't actually exist, including tickets to the 2018 Met Gala, according to the complaint. Each count faces up to 20 years in jail.

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