Failed Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland is sitting in a New York City jail cell right now and won’t be let out until after he serves his prison sentence, after his second arrest on fraud charges last week.
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said McFarland was a “serious risk of flight” after his re-arrest last week on new charges alleging that he tried to cheat some of the victims of his botched 2017 Fyre Festival by trying to sell them bogus tickets to music, fashion and sporting events. Buchwald also called McFarland “a danger, in a non-violent sense, to the community.”
“In effect, his detention at this time is the beginning of his sentence,” Buchwald explained, signaling her intention to ignore a request by McFarland for house arrest and sentence the 27-year-old to up to a decade behind bars. McFarland’s sentencing was postponed until July 26 so court officers who prepared a pre-sentence report would be given a chance to reconsider their sentencing recommendation in light of the new charges.
On Monday, officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office issued a lengthy letter with new details of McFarland’s alleged crimes since being arrested last year on multiple counts of wire and securities fraud. McFarland allegedly forged the signature on a $25,000 check written to his personal driver and taken from one of his employees, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristy J. Greenberg wrote, also accusing McFarland of witness tampering during the investigation of his latest alleged crimes.
Greenberg also called McFarland a “flight risk” saying he told several individuals he would flee the country if sentenced to more than three years in prison.
“These witnesses also noted the defendant’s access to pilots, and the fact that he carried lots of cash on his person,” said Greenberg, who said McFarland makes “$40,000 per month from his freelance work” and “has lived a lavish lifestyle staying at luxury hotels and dining at expensive restaurants while on pretrial release.”