Billy McFarland, the disgraced mastermind behind the Fyre Festival disaster, was sentenced to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud. Now, the United States Marshals Service’s Manhattan office will be auctioning off authentic Fyre Festival merchandise to help pay off the $26 million that McFarland still owes to those he scammed.
Two boxes of Fyre merch were discovered during a search through McFarland's assets and will soon be made available to the public, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson told Vulture in an email. Along with the swag, $240,000 was discovered in a bank account. The boxes were turned over to law enforcement by McFarland’s defense lawyer shortly after he was sentenced in March 2018.
“We have an assortment of the ‘real thing’ Fyre Festival-branded tee-shirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, hats, wristbands and medallions,” wrote the spokesperson for the United States Marshals Service’s Manhattan. “We know that there is tremendous interest in these items in the NY metro area in particular. ... The USMS will dispose (or sell) the Fyre merchandise in the most efficient, cost-effective way in the best interests of the U.S. Government. We utilize our contracted partners to handle the marketing and sale and it will be an online auction.”
All of the items have been inspected for authenticity, then inventoried and appraised.
A date of the auction has yet to be announced, nor have any of the items' prices been listed. The money raised from the auctions will be distributed by the government back to the victims of McFarland's crimes. Since the sales are not likely to cover the entirety of what is owed, victims will be compensated “based on their respective losses," according to prosecutors.
McFarland's lawyers have not commented on the auction.
The merchandise in question was created as a product to be sold for McFarland's disastrous Fyre Festival in 2017, originally advertised as a paradigm-shifting, curated luxury experience. Ticket buyers to the party in the Bahamas paid thousands of dollars to attend the event. The opulent accommodations they were promised were nowhere to be found upon arrival. Several high-profile musical acts booked for the event pulled out shortly before their scheduled appearances. Images of the bacchanal-gone-wrong, including pictures of the meager rations served to attendees, went wildly viral on social media. The festival's collapse and fallout was depicted in two competing documentaries: Netflix's "Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened" and Hulu's "Fyre Fraud."
U.S. Marshals Service have used similar tactics to pay off criminals' debts in the past. Fourteen pairs of convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff’s underwear sold for $200 at a similar auction in 2011, according to the Associated Press.
McFarland is currently incarcerated at FCI Otisville, in Orange County, New York, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
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