The continuing saga of the Fyre Festival has reached another low-point, as Brooklyn Vegan has reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission has settled with festival founder Billy McFarland, who will now give back some $27.4 million that he obtained from defrauding investors. The SEC determined that McFarland had doctored his brokerage account, showing that he had millions of dollars in stock holdings when he, in fact, had less than $2,000. McFarland used this fake evidence of his wealth to entice investors to pump funding into his ill-conceived Fyre Festival. This is yet another blow for McFarland, who has continued to encounter legal difficulties from the resulting fallout from the implosion of the Fyre Festival.
McFarland had promoted the Fyre Festival as a lavish VIP music festival that was supposed to take place in April-May of 2017 in the Bahamas. However, the festival was canceled due to McFarland and his team dropping the ball on the accommodations, with the resulting chaos causing most of the big name acts to drop off the festival. Fans complained about the horrid conditions of the festival from the start, which were at odds with the way the Fyre Festival had been billed: as a luxury festival where ticket holders would get private beaches and gourmet food. Instead, they were given tiny tents and cheese sandwiches.
As the dust settled and the lawsuits came in, it became apparent that the festival organizers had not only borrowed millions of dollars to keep the festival from tanking but that McFarland had lied to investors from the start, leading to an FBI investigation and his arrest for wire fraud last year. The company behind the festival went into bankruptcy last year, and McFarland finally pleaded guilty to wire fraud earlier this year.
McFarland can’t seem to make any progress in digging himself out his financial hole as earlier this year as two fans were awarded five million dollars in damages related to the Fyre Festival.