Failed Fyre Festival Organizer Is Released Early From Federal Prison

The known fraudster behind the failed Fyre Festival was released from prison on Wednesday, more than two years before the end of a six-year sentence handed down in 2018, his lawyer said.

Billy McFarland, 30, was transferred from a low-security federal prison in Michigan on March 30, the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement.

His attorney, Jason Russo, said McFarland had remained in custody at a second facility before arriving at a shelter in New York City on Wednesday.

He is expected to remain there until August, the agency said.

McFarland, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to wire transfer fraud and other crimes related to a music festival he fraudulently promoted as a lavish, star-studded event in the Caribbean, was paroled after earning good time credit, said russo.

McFarland’s release was first reported on Wednesday by TMZ

Russo said McFarland, who owes millions in restitution for the event, plans to “assemble a team of good people for a solid plan to make up and pay” what he owes.

Russo added that McFarland has spent the past two years developing a plan to begin paying “immediately” the $26 million a judge ordered him in 2018. Russo declined to provide additional details.

His release comes two years after McFarland was placed in solitary confinement, apparently for participating in a podcast about the festival called “Dumpster Fyre”. according to The New York Times

Russo told the paper that his client had been a “model inmate” and that he did not believe McFarland’s participation was against the rules.

The Times reported that McFarland had previously been placed in solitary confinement for possessing a flash drive.

The April 2017 festival, which received the endorsement of celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, promised luxurious accommodations in the Bahamas and performances by more than two dozen musical acts. Festival-goers were instead given cheese sandwiches and had to stay in Federal Emergency Management Agency tents.

McFarland apologized for his crimes, telling a judge last year that he planned to host a “legitimate festival” but “grossly underestimated the resources it would take to host an event of this magnitude”. according to The Associated Press

“In an effort to raise money that I thought was necessary, I lied to investors about various aspects of Fyre Media and my personal finances,” he said, according to the AP.

Doha Madani contributed