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Fyre Festival Founder Billy McFarland Discusses His Infamous Scam In New TV Interview

Billy McFarland admits to lying to both investors and people who put their trust in him as he was organizing 2017's disastrous Fyre Festival. 

By Gina Tron
Billy Mcfarland Ap

The founder of the infamous Fyre Festival opened up about his scam in his first television appearance since he was sentenced to prison for fraud.

Billy McFarland was prominently featured in the most recent episode of ABC's “The Con,” a series that focus on scams and scandals.

McFarland was sentenced in 2018 to six years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in relation to the previous year's Fyre Festival, which had been hyped as as can't-miss luxury music festival in the Bahamas. Unfortunately for those who spent thousands on tickets, the event was anything but. When concert-goers arrived, they found FEMA tents and meager meals instead. McFarland admitted to lying about the Fyre Festival to more than 80 investors, resulting in them losing about $26 million, the Associated Press reported in 2018.

"When I think about the mistakes that were made and what happened, there's just, like, there's no way I can just describe it other than, like, what the f--- was I thinking? And I think that applies to so many people on just so many decisions that I made," McFarland said on “The Con.”

He said he feels guilty for "lying to people who put their trust in" him. Furthermore, he admitted to “knowingly” lying to investors.

"What I did was inflate our company's numbers,” he explained. "How much money we had, how much money we were making, in order to raise overall money. I tried to justify to myself, 'Well, you know, everybody has access to my bank account; they all know what's going on. And so, just give us more money. We're going to make this happen, we all know what's happening.' But in reality, everybody didn't understand, you know, what was going on in my head.”

McFarland was also charged in relation to a separate ticket-selling scheme between late 2017 and March 2018, in which he allegedly sold fraudulent tickets to major events like the Grammy Awards, Burning Man, the Met Gala, Super Bowl and Coachella, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

The con artist is continuing to serve out his sentence at Ohio’s Elkton Federal Correctional Institution, following an unsuccessful attempt to get out on early release following an apparent positive COVID-19 test.

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