Fyre Festival Cofounder Billy McFarland Arrested, Faces Federal Fraud Charges

Fyre Festival will go down as one of the worst disasters in music festival history.

The cofounder of the festival, William "Billy" McFarland, is now paying the price. McFarland was arrested on June 30 and charged with one count of federal wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the festival's investors.

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According to CNN, prosecutors allege that the Fyre Media CEO defrauded at least two people who invested approximately $1.2 million in the festival. He is also said to have presented false stock ownership documents to another investor.

McFarland and rapper Ja Rule teamed up to organize and promote the trendy music festival that was to take place in Exuma, Bahamas. They hoped to bring attention to their Fyre app, which books celebrities for events. In order to promote their event, the pair paid celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid to post about the festival on their social media pages.

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The festival was set to take place over two weekends in April and May, but by mid-April it became apparent that the event was experiencing issues. Blink-182 pulled out of their headlining gig just one day before the festival was supposed to start.

Some attendees paid as much as $12,000 to attend and expected to stay in luxurious locations, but instead were placed in disaster-relief tents.

The attendees took to social media to share their disbelief for the event. The festival was postponed on April 28 and the attendees were sent home.

Ja Rule apologized for the issues and said the festival was not a scam. However, McFarland blamed poor weather for all the problems and promised refunds.


McFarland is expected in court to stand before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox on Saturday, July 1. He could face up to a maximum of 20 years in prison.