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​Fyre Festival founder settles $27.4 million of fraud charges

The settlement is subject to court approval

  • Cameron Holbrook
  • 25 July 2018
​Fyre Festival founder settles $27.4 million of fraud charges

On Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled its claims against the founder of the disastrous Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland, who was accused of defrauding more than 100 investors out of $27.4 million. McFarland has admitted to the SEC's charges against him.

The SEC stated that McFarland "induced investors to entrust him with tens of millions of dollars by fraudulently inflating key operational, financial metrics and successes of his companies." The funds he managed to raise for this "once-in-a-lifetime" music festival bankrolled McFarland's lavish lifestyle, penthouse apartment in Manhattan and his trips to luxurious destinations by private plane.

The phony festival founder has been banned for life from serving as a corporate officer or director and agreed to the repayment of $27.4 million which is "to be deemed satisfied by the forfeiture order entered in McFarland’s sentencing in a related criminal case."

McFarland pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud this past March and is scheduled to be sentenced on those charges in August. If found guilty, the Fyre Festival founder faces up to a decade in jail.

To recap what we already know, Fyre Festival was organized by Ja Rule and Billy McFarland’s Fyre Media company. It developed an image of luxury due to a significant social media campaign that had celebrities post on Instagram to off the festival's beach paradise offerings. Tickets ranged from $4,000 to $12,000 and the lineup featured Major Lazer, Disclosure, Skepta, Kaytranada and more. That said, artists pulled out before the festival began without any knowledge to ticket holders. Once patrons arrived, they were met with an empty beach, horrible tent conditions and bread and cheese for meals.

A documentary series about the festival debacle - which will attempt to outline the entire fiasco - is set to land on Hulu in 2019.

Relive 16 of the best reactions to Fyre Festival here.

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