Fyre Festival fraudster William McFarland was back in federal custody Tuesday after prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed new charges against McFarland for allegedly orchestrating another fraudulent ticket scheme.
McFarland pleaded guilty back in March to defrauding more than 80 investors in the Fyre Festival debacle that ended up costing them a loss of more than $24 million, as well as a ticket vendor $2 million in losses. The music festival, sold as a luxury Bahamas get-away featuring some of the biggest artists in pop music with ticket prices starting at around $1,200, proved to be anything but high-end, with attendees arriving to bare-bones amenities and cancelled performances.
Despite these setbacks, prosecutors allege McFarland decided to redouble his scamming ways.
“William McFarland, already awaiting sentencing for a prior fraud scheme, allegedly continued to conduct criminal business as usual, selling nonexistent tickets to fashion, music, and sporting events,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
McFarland’s purported exclusive event ticket company, NYC VIP Access, had, in reality, no access to events for which he sold tickets, according to Berman.
Prosecutors say beginning in late 2017 McFarland began reaching out to customers connected to an earlier venture McFarland claimed was shuttered because of bad publicity around the Fyre Festival. They were told NYC VIP had access to tickets to such events as the Met Gala, Burning Man, the Grammy Awards, as well as a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game that included a team dinner with LeBron James.
In total, federal authorities say McFarland was able to charge at least 15 customers for $100,000 worth of tickets that he either failed to provide or provided not as advertised. He now is charged with a new count of wire fraud, as well as a count of money laundering. He was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein on Tuesday evening.
An attorney for McFarland could not be reached for comment.