Infamous event promoter Billy McFarland — the man behind the disastrous high-end Fyre Festival that stranded super models and socialites in the Bahamas — was rearrested Tuesday and charged with earning $100,000 by selling fake tickets to other exclusive fashion, music and sporting events.
McFarland was charged with one count of wire fraud through his company NYC VIP Access and one count of money laundering. He faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted, according to several news outlets siting the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.
Prosecutors say McFarland, 26, began running the new ticket scheme in late 2017 — just months after his June 2017 arrest for defrauding investors of his Fyre Media company out of $24 million. He pleaded guilty in March to duping investors and was set to be sentenced for that crime later this month.
While on pretrial release, McFarland targeted the attendee list from the Fyre Festival to purchase tickets to other exclusive events that didn’t actually exist, including tickets to the 2018 Met Gala, Coachella and the Super Bowl, according to the new complaint.
The spring 2017 Fyre Festival, which was hyped as a “transformative” cultural event held in the Bahamas with Instagram videos of models riding on boats and jet skis, was abruptly called off. Concertgoers posted photos that went viral showing an unfinished festival ground, bad food and inadequate toilets. McFarland had organized the event, which was to take place over two weekends with rap star Ja Rule, and was to feature Blink-182 and other bands. The cheapest tickets for one weekend were $1,500 and VIP packages cost as much as $250,000 per person.
“Mr. McFarland is a serial fraudster plain and simple,” prosecutor Kristy Greenberg told the judge this week, according to the New York Post.
“We vigorously contest what is in this complaint,” his lawyer, Randall Jackson, countered.
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