$5M Awarded To Two Fyre Festival Attendees
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) – Billy McFarland
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. He faces a sentence of 8 to 10 years.
Two North Carolina men were awarded $5 million in damages stemming from the disastrous Fyre Festival island getaway that last year stranded would-be concertgoers on a deserted island rather than provide a lavish concert getaway.
The two Raleigh residents filed suit in May saying they spent $13,000 for VIP packages to attend the luxury music festival in the Bahamas produced by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, according to Vice News which first reported the story. The packages were supposed to include “a residence consisting of four rooms and a living area” on the private island. Of course, when attendees arrived there was no music, barely any food and portable toilets. Ja Rule was initially a defendant in the suit but removed after a separate agreement, according to Vice.
A lawyer for one of the plaintiffs told Vice each plaintiff was granted $1.5 million in compensatory damages plus an additional $1 million in punitive damages including accommodations as well as mental anguish, according to Vice.
They are the first to obtain a judgment against Fyre promoter Billy McFarland who is currently in jail awaiting sentencing for charges of wire fraud but was arrested again on charges earlier this month that he operated a ticketing scam while out on bail, promising VIP experiences for everything from Coachella to a dinner with NBA star LeBron James.
“We feel very satisfied,” attorney Stacy Miller said, according to Vice. “we asked the court to send a message to those who defraud North Carolina consumers, and we believe he did.”
Just a couple weeks ago bail was revoked for McFarland, with a judge saying he was a flight risk and nonviolent danger to the community.
In March, McFarland pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in a deal that called for him to serve between eight and 10 years in prison, although he has requested leniency with no incarceration. The Fyre Festival scam allegedly cost more than 80 investors $26 million.