The rollercoaster of crime, emotions, and sheer stupidity has finally ended. Our beloved Billy McFarland, the co-founder of Fyre Festival, has been sentenced to six years in prison with three years of probation after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud.
McFarland promised concert attendees a once-in-a-lifetime music festival taking place on a private island in the Caribbean. In addition to a scenic venue, the attendees were promised ritzy foods and drinks as well as a stacked lineup. This concept collapsed upon itself and left concert-goers stranded and workers without a paycheck.
The judge proceeding over the case, Judge Buchwald, called McFarland a “serial fraudster.” He continued by stating that the aspiring entrepreneur had “been dishonest for most of his life.”
Out on bail, McFarland put any last shred of morality and common sense down the garbage disposal when he created the fraudulent credit card company NYC VIP. This lead to the SEC charging McFarland with even more crimes.
In a statement to the court, McFarland said, “The thing that pushed me more than anything was fear” of the Fyre Festival collapsing and of “letting everyone down.”
This sentence does not include the $26 million he will have to pay in restitution.
Is there a lesson to be learned out of all of this? Yes, and it is quite simple. Do not, under any circumstances, start a fraudulent music festival. Sometimes we need to put a face to such a common-sense ideal. McFarland will now forever be immortalized with this code.