Fyre Festival founder gets six years in prison

NEW YORK • The entrepreneur was playing with fire, promising attendees of a music festival in the Bahamas that they would be pampered with luxurious amenities and gourmet food.

But the event, scheduled for last year, never took place. Now, Billy McFarland, 26, the force behind the Fyre Festival, has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Hundreds of partygoers headed to the Bahamas, some paying more than US$100,000 (S$137,000) each, but found tents and rudimentary sandwiches.

McFarland admitted to wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements in a two-pronged plea in March and July. Had he gone to trial and been convicted, he could have faced 20 years in prison. In addition to his jail time, he was ordered to forfeit US$26 million.

Prosecutors said McFarland repeatedly misrepresented himself to build his Fyre Media tech company and the ill-fated festival.

He falsified statements to show investors that his company had earned millions of dollars through talent bookings. At least 80 investors fell victim to his scheme, losing more than US$24 million.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2018, with the headline 'Fyre Festival founder gets six years in prison'. Print Edition | Subscribe