The bougie festival in the Bahamas this past April became viral… but not for any of the good reasons. After paying thousands of dollars for an exclusive experience with DJs, musicians, gourmet food and accommodations, hundreds of attendees arrived at the venue to see a disastrously organized festival with little to no provisions, no exit plan, and no music.
The festival became the target of jokes for weeks after, especially in comparison to the hilariously bad food offerings and the less-than-stellar “tents” that had been erected for attendees.
Now, a little over two months later, Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland has been officially charged with wire fraud in an attempt to defraud investors.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York said McFarland induced at least two individuals to invest $1.2 million in two companies associated with the festival.
“McFarland promised a ‘life changing’ music festival but in actuality delivered a disaster,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement. “McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival. Thanks to the investigative efforts of the F.B.I., McFarland will now have to answer for his crimes.”
If convicted, McFarland could face up to 20 years in prison.
Ja Rule was not mentioned in the new charges.
However, more than a dozen other lawsuits alleging fraud, breach of contract and other claims have been filed as ticket-holders await refunds that have yet to arrive.
According to the LA Times, “Details of the case were provided via a criminal complaint that was unsealed on Friday. Among the claims was that McFarland, who had established the firm Fyre Media and its subsidiary Fyre Festival LLC, told investors Fyre Media had ‘earned millions of dollars of revenue from thousands of artist bookings from at least July 2016 until April 2017,’ according to the complaint.”
In the time period specified, Fyre Media, according to the complaint, had actually earned $57,443 in revenue.
McFarland was arrested in New York on Friday.
via LA Times