As Vice News reports, Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday, October 11. McFarland was first arrested and charged with wire fraud last year, with a subsequent arrest this June for running a fraudulent ticket-selling scam. He pleaded guilty to fraud charges relating to both matters in March and July.
At the US Southern District Court in Manhattan on Thursday, Judge Naomi Buchwald sentenced McFarland to six years in prison and three years probation for his role in the Fyre Festival debacle and the NYC VIP Access fake ticketing scam. He will also have to pay restitution of $26 million.
Before his second arrest in July, McFarland’s lawyers had argued that he should be made to pay the restitution and serve either 1,000 hours of community service and six months of house arrest or “a minimal period of incarceration.”
“McFarland is unique in this court’s memory for starting the NYC VIP Access while awaiting trial, then thinking he could ‘talk his way out,'” Judge Buchwald said.
“The defendant is a serial fraudster and, to date, his fraud, like a circle, has no end,” she also said during the sentencing. “Mr. McFarland has been dishonest most of his life.”
In September, McFarland’s legal team had asked the court for leniency, stating that McFarland had been diagnosed with an untreated bipolar disorder, citing a psychological report claiming it had caused “delusional beliefs of having special and unique talents that will lead to fame and fortune.”
“The remorse I feel is crushing,” McFarland said in the court. “I’ve lived every day with the weight of knowing that I literally destroyed the lives of my friends and family.”
The Fyre Festival founder could have served up to 20 years for convictions on three counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, and one count of lying to investigators. However, Judge Buchwald allowed for multiple counts of fraud to be served at the same time.
McFarland has also been sued by two Fyre Festival attendees who obtained a $5 million judgment against him in July. In addition, ticket holders have filed a multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit against him.
For more information, read the full report over at Vice News.