The story of Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland is a long one, after defrauding attendees of the influencer gathering back in April 2017. Over the past 18 months, McFarland has been in court a number of times, and has recently begun receiving verdicts and orders. For instance, in July, he was ordered to pay back $27.4 million to his scammed victims. Two days later, he plead guilty to other scams involving Coachella, the Grammys, and more.
Now, McFarland has been sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald to six years in prison on multiple accounts of fraud. McFarland reportedly said “I’m sorry” multiple times during his sentencing hearing as his defense begged for leniency as a part of his recently diagnosed bipolar disorder. But Judge Buchwald was stalwart.
“It is my conclusion based on all the submissions that the defendant is a serial fraudster and that to date his fraud like a circle has no ending,” she said.
“Bipolar does not excuse behavior,” she said, before accusing him of “white collar obstruction” in the investigation into his crimes. “This was not a good idea gone bad, the bad intent was long withstanding,” she said.
Other victims were given the opportunity to speak during the sentencing hearing, including Joe Nemeth, an investor in McFarland’s schemes, which included Fyre Festival, a luxury benefits club Magnises, and a ticket scheme NYC VIP Access, a scheme that he’d developed while out on bail from his first arrest.
“It took me 20 years of saving my lunch money to save $180,000,” he said, now lamenting he and his wife’s inability to retire. “I hope the justice system has the last laugh at Mr. McFarland.”
via VICE News