Billy McFarland is going to have a hard time getting out of this one. Just days before he was to be sentenced on two counts of fraud for allegedly ripping off investors to the tune of $26 million, McFarland was arrested again and sent to jail, where he is expected to remain before eventually being sent to prison.
McFarland had been looking at four to eight years in prison for the scam tied to his failed Fyre Fest, but it now appears he could be spending much more time behind bars. On Friday, a grand jury indicted McFarland on five additional counts tied to his company NYC VIP Access, which officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office say was a front company for McFarland to steal another $100,000 from victims of Fyre Festival.
Authorities say McFarland used email addresses of Fyre Fest ticket buyers and solicited them with offers for the Grammys, New York Fashion Week, the Met Gala and Taylor Swift shows. After charging thousands for what he promised were VIP tickets, McFarland would often deliver tickets that didn’t match the access he promised, or in most cases, never delivered the tickets at all. Authorities estimate he stole about $100,000 in the scam.
He now faces five new charges of wire fraud, money laundering, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and obstruction of justice. Each of the five counts includes a sentencing enhancement for allegedly committing crimes while on pretrial release in his Fyre Fest case.
McFarland is in serious trouble and could end up doing a decade or more behind bars. That’s much worse than the six months of house arrest he had been asking for.