Fyre Festival Founder Billy McFarland Gets Early Prison Release

The 30-year-old was given a six-year sentence after pleading guilty to wire fraud related to the festival disaster and for selling fake event tickets while out on bail.
Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, is seen in 2018 leaving federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges in New York.
Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, is seen in 2018 leaving federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges in New York.
via Associated Press

Billy McFarland, the Fyre Festival organizer who was convicted of fraud related to the disastrous 2017 venture in the Bahamas, has been released early from federal prison.

The 30-year-old was released from a low-security facility in Michigan on March 30, a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed to HuffPost Thursday.

He was transferred to a facility in New York and will complete the remainder of his sentence, which ends in August, either in home confinement or at a residential reentry center, which is also known as a halfway house, according to the spokesperson and online jailhouse information.

His release was first reported by TMZ on Wednesday.

McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to committing wire fraud related to the failed festival and for selling fake tickets to exclusive events while out on bail. He confessed to defrauding investors of $26 million through the festival scheme and more than $100,000 through the later ticket-selling scheme.

The fraudster drew in millions from unsuspecting customers who were promised a luxury music festival that would feature top music acts, gourmet food and glamorous accommodations. But when guests arrived, some after paying as much as $250,000 for event tickets, they said they were given cheese sandwiches, half-built FEMA disaster tents to sleep in, and no music entertainment.

McFarland apologized in court for his actions, but his pleas for leniency were dismissed by a judge who said “his fraud, like a circle, has no ending,” Vice News reported at the time.

McFarland in 2020 wrote to that same judge requesting early release from prison, citing concerns about COVID-19 and claiming that he is not the same person he was when he was sentenced.

“It took me longer than it should’ve, but your message has come through,” he said, according to the letter published by TMZ.

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