Billy McFarland, the promoter behind the spectacularly failed Fyre Festival, has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. A contrite McFarland conceded that he had defrauded 80 investors and falsified documents to obtain more funds for the event, but maintained that his intentions were good.
“I grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary to hold an event of this magnitude. In an attempt to raise what I thought were needed funds, I lied to investors about various aspects of Fyre Media and my personal finances. Those lies included false documents and information,” McFarland told U.S. District Judge Naomi Rice Buchwald, according to the New York Times.
Originally billed as 2-week an exclusive destination festival staged on a private island in the Bahamas for an audience of the well-heeled, the event did not live up to expectations.
When festival-goers arrived at the island on promises of luxury accommodations and gourmet food, they were instead met with soggy tents, and cheese sandwiches. As well, the last minute cancellation of the festival left many attendees stranded at the festival site, which had little in the way of basic sanitation facilities and security.
The two counts of wire fraud each carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years, but under the terms of the plea deal, McFarland faces up to a decade in prison and a fine of as much as $300,000.
As well, he is facing numerous civil suits over the festival and is in the midst of a forced liquidation of Fyre as creditors try to recoup their losses, according to Bloomberg.