Billy McFarland, the co-founder of Fyre Festival, has been sentenced to six years in prison.
McFarland, 26, was sentenced today (October 11) on multiple counts of fraud, including for the failed festival in the Bahamas last year. The event was cancelled due to a number of inadequacies, such as the fact that punters were left without running water when they arrived on site.
In some cases, attendees paid $4,000 per ticket to the ‘luxury’ festival, which McFarland organised with the help of celebrity investors including Ja Rule and Kendall Jenner.
The disgraced businessman, who pleaded guilty to fraud earlier this year, said “I’m sorry” several times during the sentencing hearing.
He said that he had faced violence in prison so far and that “the best way to be sorry is through my future actions.”
McFarland’s legal team added that he had been diagnosed with untreated bipolar disorder earlier this month, which prevents him from knowing right from wrong. For the purposes of leniency, the lawyers asked the judge for this to be taken into consideration.
US District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald, however, refused to reduce the six-year sentence.
“It is my conclusion based on all the submissions that the defendant is a serial fraudster and that to date his fraud like a circle has no ending,” she said.
Buchwald added that even if McFarland is bipolar, it does not excuse his behaviour.