Too many fyres to put out. William “Billy” McFarland, the cofounder of the disastrous Fyre Festival, was arrested on June 30 and charged with one count of federal wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud investors.
According to CNN, prosecutors allege that the Fyre Media CEO defrauded at least two people who invested approximately $1.2 million in the Fyre Festival, in addition to allegedly presenting false stock ownership documentation to another investor.
The Fyre Festival was organized by McFarland and rapper Ja Rule and was advertised as a trendy musical festival in the hopes of bringing attention to their Fyre app, which books celebrities for events. The festival was promoted on social media by Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, among other young celebrities.
The festival was slated to take place over two weekends in April and May in Exuma, Bahamas — but by mid-April, it was clear that things were amiss. Blink-182 pulled out of their headlining gig the day before the festival started.
Attendees — some of whom had paid up to $12,000 — arrived on April 27, expecting to stay in luxurious villas on the beach, only to find disaster-relief tents on gravel lots. Those in attendance began to document their poor accommodations, and their complaints went viral on Twitter.
On April 28, Fyre organizers announced that the festival was postponed and all attendees would have to go home, overwhelming the Exuma Airport and causing major delays.
Ja Rule issued a statement where he apologized, insisting the festival was not a scam, while McFarland blamed bad weather for the disorganization and promised to give refunds. Soon after, several lawsuits began to roll in.
According to a press release by the Department of Justice, McFarland is expected to be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox on Saturday, July 1.
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