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Fyre Festival co-founder pleads guilty to fraud, faces 10 years in jail and $300k fine

That’s McFarland in the purple T-shirt.
Photo: Chance Yeh/Getty Images

Nine months after being arrested on charges related to the flaming Caribbean clusterfuck that united the world in spiteful laughter last spring—4/28/17, never forget—Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland has pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud, as NPR reports. Fyre Festival was supposed to be a luxury weekend of trust fund decadence, with festival-goers paying up to $250,000 to throw up off the side of a party yacht as artists like Blink-182, Migos, and Pusha T performed on the beach nearby. Instead, attendees were greeted with cold cheese sandwiches, FEMA tents, and no live music, when they were able to make it to the festival grounds at all.

Unlike the festival itself, the courts have been lit ever since, as McFarland and co-founder Ja Rule were hit with lawsuit after lawsuit from vendors and attendees who claimed they had been tricked into buying tickets by social-media influencers who failed to disclose that they were being paid to promote the festival. In the aftermath of the festival, it came out that McFarland had pulled this kind of shit before—namely with a service called Magnises that bilked guileless millennials by offering “VIP experiences” that never materialized.


Now McFarland, who admitted to defrauding investors and falsifying documents related to Fyre Festival in court, is facing eight to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $300,000 for his crimes. So long, and thanks for the schadenfreude, Billy. We look forward to reporting on who will play you in the Wolf Of Wall Street-style movie. As for Ja Rule, he isn’t facing any criminal charges for his involvement in the botched fest, but he is named in the many civil suits filed against Fyre Festival, so he’ll pay in his own extremely literal way.

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