NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — William McFarland, founder of the now notorious Fyre Festival, on Thursday, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, in connection with a sham ticketing scheme.
McFarland also copped to one count of bank fraud for writing a check with the name and account number of one of his employees without authorization, and one count of making false statements to a federal law enforcement agent, federal prosecutors said.
The charges stem from a purported ticketing business McFarland was alleged to have operated while undergoing trial for fraud related to the failed Fyre Festival last year.
Prosecutors alleged that McFarland told investors in his NYC VIP Access ticketing service that he had access to sought-after tickets to high profile concerts, sporting, and fashion events, such as Coachella, the Super Bowl, and the Met Gala.
Prosecutors also alleged that McFarland sold $150,000 of fraudulent tickets to NYC VIP Access customers, and either did not provide a ticket at all or did not provide tickets as advertised.
Prosecutors also allege that McFarland used financial tricks to conceal the proceeds of the ticketing scheme, including forging checks in the name of employees and created emails for fake employees that he used to communicate with customers under false pretenses.
“William ‘Billy’ McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media, previously pled guilty to defrauding investors of Fyre Media and the infamous Fyre Festival and a ticket vendor of over $26 million. While that fraud case was pending, McFarland engaged in yet another scam, purporting to sell tickets through a company called NYC VIP Access to exclusive events, such as the 2018 Met Gala, Burning Man 2018, Coachella 2018, the 2018 Grammy Awards, and the Super Bowl,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in a statement announcing the plea.
“McFarland concealed his association with NYC VIP Access so that he could solicit customers of Fyre Festival and his other company Magnises to buy tickets without raising suspicion. These customers later learned that the tickets didn’t exist and that this was just another fraud in McFarland’s disturbing pattern of deception. McFarland’s fraudulent schemes cost real people real money, and now he faces real time in federal prison for his crimes,” Berman added.
Sentencing is for the latest raft of charges is scheduled for September 17, 2018.