Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Breaking News

Fyre Festival's Billy McFarland Gets Early Release From Prison

Billy McFarland's lawyer said the organizer behind the disastrous 2017 festival was moved to a halfway house in New York City on Wednesday. 

By Jax Miller
Billy Mcfarland Ap

The man behind the infamous 2017 Fyre Festival disaster has gotten an early release from prison.

Billy McFarland, 30, who became insta-infamous after duping thousands of party seekers and around 80 investors out of millions of dollars, is no longer behind bars, as first reported by TMZ. McFarland pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2018 and was sentenced to serve six years in federal prison with an expected release in August 2023, according to Rolling Stone.

The convicted fraudster was released from a minimum-security prison in Michigan on March 30, according to a statement by the Federal Bureau of Prisons obtained by NBC News. McFarland’s lawyer, Jason Russo, said his client was in a second facility before being moved to a halfway house in New York City on Wednesday.

McFarland’s status with the Federal Bureau of Prisons shows he’s under the supervision of New York’s RRM (Residential Reentry Management). McFarland shall remain so until late August.

McFarland’s aspirations of organizing the celebrity-studded music festival situated on the crystal-blue waters of the Bahamas were a catastrophic failure. Attendees - some paying upward of $12,000 for admission, according to the New York Times - were stunned when being bussed to what was supposed to be “the cultural experience of the decade.” There, they found FEMA tents in place of promised luxury accommodations and lackluster food instead of fine cuisine.

Guests faced limited water, food, and shelter, and the music stages were only half-constructed, with many celebrity acts backing out last minute. It came as a shock after the event was previously promoted by A-list social media influencers, including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski, according to Harpers Bazaar.

The festival was canceled the morning it was slated to begin, resulting in around 8,000 disappointed attendees.

The hype leading up to the event and it's spectacular failurebecame the subject of two competing 2019 documentaries between Hulu and Netflix, exploring how the then-25-year-old fleeced investors out of $26 million. They also highlighted the impact of social media and influencers on today’s youth.

The highly publicized fiasco allegedly wasn’t enough to stop the con artist, who was accused of similar scams even after pleading guilty to charges related to the Fyre Festival.

“In March of 2018, William McFarland pled guilty to defrauding investors and vendors of the Fyre Festival, but it is apparent that he did not stop there,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. in 2018. “McFarland allegedly went on to sell fraudulent tickets to many grand events, totaling almost $100,000.”

Apart from six years in prison, part of McFarland's plea deal included paying $26 million in restitution. From behind bars, McFarland announced he was penning a memoir titled “Promythus: The God of Fyre,” which he planned to self-publish in 2019. McFarland said the proceeds would go toward paying back his victims.

Seized Fyre Festival merchandise also went up for auction in 2020 to make restitution.

McFarland had previously tried and failed to get out of prison early following a COVID-19 diagnosis in 2020. That year, he wrote a federal judge seeking release, but to no avail.

Read more about: