Fyre Festival's Mastermind Settles with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Article by: Laura Mason|@masonlazarus

Tue July 24, 2018 | 12:15 PM

Billy McFarland, the 26-year-old mastermind behind the doomed Fyre Festival, has settled with the the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), admitting that he defrauded more than 100 investors of $27.4 million.

According to SFGate, McFarland "has pleaded guilty to related criminal charges and faces as long as 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced Aug. 16. As part of the SEC settlement, he agreed to disgorge the amount of the fraud and to a lifetime ban on serving as a corporate officer or director." 

We also reported that in June McFarland was additionally charged with money laundering and, again, wire fraud – stemming from a post-Fyre Festival ticket scam he ran during the months he awaited sentencing. During this time, McFarland set up a “sham ticket-selling business for exclusive events through a company controlled and operated by McFarland" called NYC VIP Access. McFarland, through this company, perpetrated a scheme to to sell fake tickets to events like the Grammys, the Super Bowl, Coachella, the Met Gala and Burning Man by soliciting them to purchase tickets from NYC VIP Access to exclusive events "when, in fact, no such tickets existed."

He pleaded not guilty to the new charges. The SEC also sued two of his companies, Fyre Media Inc. and Magnises Inc., and two former employees.