NBC NEWS Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland sentenced to 6 years on fraud charges
Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland sentenced to 6 years on fraud charges
McFarland pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud charges related to his failed April 2017 music festival in the Bahamas.
by Doha Madani / / Updated
Artwork by Elizabeth Williams
The organizer of a failed Caribbean music festival was sentenced Thursday to a combined prison term of six years in prison for fraud.
Assistant US Attorney Kristy Greenberg and defense attorney address Judge Buchwald during the sentencing of Billy McFarland ( click on an image to see larger)
Billy McFarland, 26 was taken into custody following the sentencing in federal court in Manhattan for his role in the Fyre Festival, a music concert that was supposed to place in the Bahamas in April 2017. People paid thousands of dollars for tickets and accommodations to what was supposed to be a luxury musical festival in the Caribbean, but upon arrival were met with FEMA tents and cheese sandwiches and no concert.
Celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid endorsed the event on their social media pages. Fyre Festival cost investors, including rapper Ja Rule, $26 million — roughly the same amount the judge ordered him on Thursday to forfeit.
Judge Naomi Buchwald who sentenced McFarland to 6 years.
McFarland apologized during his sentencing and said that a "fear of letting everybody down" drove him to make mistakes.
"I made decisions that were a slap in the face to everything my family tried to teach me," McFarland said in court.
Billy McFarland seated in court with leg shackles
McFarland pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud charges relating to the festival and in July pleaded guilty to various fraud charges stemming from a separate ticket selling scam. McFarland was able to make $150,000 in phony ticket sales to fashion, music and sporting events, according to U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman of the Southern District of New York.