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Fyre Festival Founder Faces New Charges For Allegedly Selling Fake Tickets To Super Bowl, Grammys

Billy McFarland allegedly sold phony tickets to events like the Grammys, Burning Man, Super Bowl and Coachella.

By Gina Tron

The founder of the infamously bad Fyre Festival is facing new charges for allegedly selling fraudulent tickets while out on bail for his initial wire fraud charges.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that Billy McFarland, 26, ran a company that sold fraudulent tickets to major events. Between late 2017 and March 2018, McFarland allegedly sold phony tickets to events like the Grammy Awards, Burning Man, the Met Gala, Super Bowl and Coachella, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Buyers of the tickets got turned away at the door.

McFarland is accused of selling the tickets to at least 15 people, receiving about $100,000 altogether. 

“William McFarland, already awaiting sentencing for a prior fraud scheme, allegedly continued to conduct criminal business as usual,” United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.

McFarland pleaded guilty to wire charges in March. He admitted to lying to investors about Fyre Festival in a scheme to defraud more than 80 of them, resulting in them losing about $26 million, according to the Associated Press. He’s expected to be sentenced next week and faces up to two decades behind bars for wire fraud and for misleading investors.

He is now hit with an additional wire fraud charge in addition to one money laundering charge, according to the U.S Attorney's Office. Each new charge could tack on an additional 20 years each to his jail sentence.

The Fyre Festival was advertised as “life-changing” and “the cultural experience of the decade.” Instead, it turned out to be a dumpster fire. Tickets for Bahamas bash sold for between $1,000 and $125,000 apiece and it was promoted online by stars like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, who were paid to endorse the event.

Hundreds of attendees arrived to the tropical destination only to find that they had been misled. Instead of promised luxury accommodations, ticket buyers found damp tents, prepackaged cheese sandwiches and a shortage of toilets. Even though 2,500 people were expected to attend, leaked emails later revealed that organizers wanted to get away with about 75 toilets. The chaos led to the the festival getting indefinitely postponed, even though some attendees had already arrived.

A class-action lawsuit filed by patrons accuses McFarland and festival co-founder Ja Rule of false representations, material omissions and negligence. 

[Photo: Getty Images]

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