Await­ing sen­tenc­ing, Fyre Fes­ti­val pro­moter ar­rested again

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - By Larry Neumeister

NEW YORK » The pro­moter of a failed mu­sic fes­ti­val in the Ba­hamas who is await­ing sen­tenc­ing on fraud charges was ar­rested on new fraud charges Tues­day, lead­ing a judge to or­der his de­ten­tion.

Billy McFar­land, 26, will re­main be­hind bars un­til a judge, who is sched­uled to sen­tence him next week in the fes­ti­val case, de­cides whether he can be freed on bail.

McFar­land pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in March in a deal that called for him to serve be­tween eight and 10 years in prison, al­though he has re­quested le­niency with no in­car­cer­a­tion. The plea per­tained to the bun­gled spring 2017 Fyre Fes­ti­val on the Ba­hamian is­land of Ex­uma that cost over 80 in­vestors a to­tal of $26 mil­lion.

The fes­ti­val was any­thing but the ul­tra-lux­u­ri­ous event pro­moted as “the cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence of the decade” and touted on so­cial me­dia by Ken­dall Jen­ner, Bella Ha­did, Emily Rata­jkowski and other mod­els and celebri­ties.

His lawyer, Ran­dall Jackson, ar­gued Tues­day that McFar­land had proven he was no risk to flee by sur­ren­der­ing when he learned FBI agents were look­ing for him. He also said one of McFar­land’s col­leagues, co­op­er­at­ing with pros­e­cu­tors, was fram­ing him.

“We vig­or­ously con­test what is in this com­plaint,” he told U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Gabriel W. Goren­stein in Man­hat­tan.

As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Kristy Greenberg called McFar­land a fi­nan­cial threat to the com­mu­nity, say­ing he’d used the client list of the Fyre Fes­ti­val to pitch a new ticket fraud that promised tick­ets to mu­sic, fash­ion and sport­ing events that he didn’t pos­sess and had no way of get­ting.

Pros­e­cu­tors said over 15 vic­tims had been bilked since late last year of more than $100,000 as McFar­land and his workers sold non-ex­is­tent tick­ets to the 2018 Met Gala, Burn­ing Man 2018, Coachella 2018, the 2018 Grammy Awards, Su­per Bowl LII and a Cleve­land Cava­liers game that would in­clude a team din­ner with Lebron James.

Greenberg said McFar­land was liv­ing lav­ishly with month­long stays in lux­ury ho­tels and ex­cur­sions to ex­pen­sive restau­rants. And he’d told his workers that he would flee if he is sen­tenced to over three years in prison next week, she said.

“The weight of the ev­i­dence here is quite strong,” Greenberg said. “He tar­geted the same vic­tims who tried to at­tend his Fyre Fes­ti­val.”

She said pros­e­cu­tors were con­sid­er­ing ad­di­tional charges in­clud­ing bank fraud and an iden­tity theft charge that would carry a manda­tory two-year prison sen­tence upon con­vic­tion.

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