If you’re watching the Netflix show Inventing Anna about fraudster Anna Delvey, you probably caught the scene where she lives with her friend and fellow fraudster Billy McFarland. He's the co-founder of the ill-fated Fyre Festival. Where is McFarland now?
McFarland is still sitting in federal prison in Oklahoma City for his role in organizing the sham 2017 Fyre Festival that bilked investors and attendees out of over $27 million.
The Fyre Festival turned into a nightmare for attendees.
The Fyre Festival was touted as a luxury music festival that was supposed to take place in April and May 2018 on the Bahama island of Great Exuma. McFarland partnered with rapper Ja Rule to create the festival that promised big-name acts such as Blink 182, Pusha T, Migos, and Lil Yachty. To promote the event, McFarland enlisted social media influencers including Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid. Tickets to the event cost anywhere from $1,000 to $12,000.
However, planning for the festival started unraveling just a few months before the event. What was supposed to be the party of a lifetime quickly became a nightmare for attendees. Instead of luxury accommodations and gourmet food, attendees were put up in tents resembling those FEMA uses for disaster relief and given sandwiches to eat.
The epic failure of the Fyre Festival led attendees to file a $100 million class-action lawsuit against McFarland and Ja Rule. McFarland was arrested for wire fraud for his involvement in the festival. In 2018, he pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and using fake documents to attract investors.
McFarland continued fraudulent activities while out on bail.
But apparently, McFarland couldn’t stop his fraudulent behavior and reportedly created and ran a ticket-selling scam while he was out on bail. In the few months he was awaiting trial for the Fyre Festival debacle, he sold fake tickets to exclusive events like the Met Gala, Burning Man, and Coachella, The New York Times reported in June 2018.
A third count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering were added to the charges against McFarland. In October 2018, a Manhattan federal judge sentenced him to six years in prison for engaging in multiple fraudulent schemes. His release is scheduled for August 2023.
“Today, McFarland found out the hard way that empty promises don’t lead to jet-setting, champagne, and extravagant parties – they lead to federal prison,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
McFarland was sent to solitary confinement for a podcast appearance.
Life in prison hasn’t gone so well for McFarland. In 2020, he contracted COVID-19 while in a federal prison in Ohio, the New York Post reported. Later that same year, McFarland ended up in solitary confinement for six months as punishment for his participation in the podcast Dumpster Fyre about the Fyre Festival scandal.
After McFarland was released from solitary confinement, he was transferred to the Oklahoma City federal prison, where he is currently.
McFarland’s net worth is in the red.
McFarland’s net worth is now in the negative. According to WealthyGorilla.com, McFarland’s net worth is -$5 million. When he was sentenced to prison, he agreed to forfeit the $26 million investors put into his company Fyre Media. Last year, 277 attendees of the failed Fyre Festival were awarded $7,220 each in the class action lawsuit against McFarland, Ja Rule, and other event organizers.