Fyre Festival promoter is a ‘danger’ to the community, says judge


Mark Lennihan | AP

Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in New York.

Billy McFarland, who got in trouble last year for duping people into buying tickets to a fake concert in the Bahamas, is in trouble again.

And this time, a judge is keeping a close eye on him.

McFarland, a New Jersey native, was arrested last week and charged with earning $100,000 by selling fake tickets to exclusive fashion, music and sporting events such as the Met Gala, Grammys, Burning Man and Coachella.

Manhattan federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ordered McFarland be detained after prosecutors said they have evidence that he may have also committed bank fraud and identity theft while out on bail.

Buchwald also said the additional charges make him a flight risk.

“I do think that with the new charges combined with the forthcoming sentencing, there’s a serious risk of flight as well as a danger in a non-violent sense to the community,” said Buchwald (h/t The New York Post).

The judge also asked McFarland to remove his eyeglasses during a Monday court appearance over fears that he was trying to sneak something into the court room.

McFarland, 26, has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. He faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.

McFarland’s Fyre Festival LLC was busted for charging guests as much as $250,000 per ticket and not delivering on any of the amenities it promised, including working bathrooms.

His other venture, Magnises, was touted as a “black-card membership” service for millennials. According to Fortune and Bloomberg, the so-called elite membership community collapsed following the Fyre fiasco.

The service cost $250 per year, required members to carry black cards, and promised entry to exclusive celebrity events, concerts and swanky clubs. The company, based in Manhattan’s West Village, raised more than $3 million in venture capital.

More from New York Business Journal:
Fyre Festival founder arrested (again) on fraud charges
Fyre Festival founder’s legal woes cause his N.Y.C. startup to collapse
Organizer of Brooklyn Pizza fest pledges to refund money after investigation

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