Billy MacFarland, the 26-year-old organizer of the disastrous Fyre Festival, was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to lose $ 26 million after pleading guilty to two counts of electronic fraud for his role in defrauding investors and ticket sellers of the Fyre Festival.
According to the New York Times, MacFarland told prosecutors that Fyre Media received $ 26 million from lenders for lying and forging documents, so it was later called "the cultural experience of the decade."
Here is what you need to know about MacFarland:
What was meant to be an exclusive, "cultural" festival on a private island quickly turned into a disastrous weekend that left attendees locked in an airport and forced to pick up their luggage from a shipping container in the darkness of the night.
Despite being promised a complete VIP experience, complete with private jets and "the best food", the fans were fed dry cheese sandwiches with salad and forced to camp in small, half-built tents on an island in mostly undeveloped in the Bahamas.
Most of the artists ended up retiring at the last minute due to the disorganization of the event, and Blink 182, who was ready to lead the event, withdrew after worrying that the festival could not provide them with an adequate configuration to "Give the quality of the performances we always give our fans. "
The event was heavily publicized by social media influencers such as Kendell Jenner and Bella Hadid, and other media personalities, many of whom did not initially disclose that they had been paid to do so, in violation of federal law. The tickets cost between $ 450 and more than $ 100,000.
Other artists booked to perform at the festival include Major Lazer, Migos and Lil Yachty.
MacFarland was legally responsible for the disorganized and chaotic event and, according to Manhattan federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, has a history of fraudulent behavior.
According to CNN, McFarland also pleaded guilty to another charge of bank fraud for a "fake ticket scheme" in which he sold fake tickets to fashion, music and sports events, and another charge of bank fraud for writing a check with the name and the account. number of one of his employees without authorization as part of what Berman called a "disturbing pattern of deception."
"The defendant is a serial scammer," Manhattan federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said on Thursday, according to ABC News. "Sir, McFarland is a swindler and not just a misguided young man." The bad intention was lasting.
He pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal police as well, the US Attorney's office said.
Rapper Ja Rule was also a festival organizer, but denied any responsibility and was the subject of a $ 100 million lawsuit, despite his continued denial.
MacFarland was born in New York City, but grew up in Millburn, New Jersey. His parents were real estate developers. At the age of 13, MacFarland started its first company: an online outsourcing company that "matched customers with designers."
He attended Bucknell University in Pennsylvania for less than nine months, studying computer engineering, before leaving to start the Spling online ad platform.
In August 2013, McFarland founded Magnises, with the objective of creating an exclusive "black card" with social benefits, aimed at state-oriented millennials in large cities. McFarland then launched Fyre Media Inc., the parent company of the Fyre Festival. In a sheet of terms sent to investors, Fyre Media claimed to have a value of $ 90 million; however, the authorities claim that the company only made approximately $ 60,000 in business.
Although the festival was considered a disappointing and expensive disaster for those who attended, many laughed at the incident and claimed that it was just a group of rich children frightened by poor baggage handling and not having the luxurious camping trip they expected.
"I got my ticket in a raffle at work," said one assistant. "I thought it would be great, I did not have much in the way of expectations, but yes, to see rich people get scared because their luggage was roughly handled or they were slightly dehydrated." Oh, it was like the chicken soup for my soul. middle class, the best weekend of my life. "
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