NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — William McFarland, the organizer behind the disastrous Fyre Festival, which defrauded investors and left hundreds of would-be festival-goers stranded on an island, was handed a six-year prison sentence by a Federal Judge on Thursday.
Judge Naomi Buchwald, who presided over the case in the U.S. Southern District Court in lower Manhattan, referred to McFarland as “a serial fraudster” in sentencing.
In March, McFarland pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud over allegations that he had defrauded investors in his company Fyre Media, and a related festival promotion company, leading to losses of more than $24 million.
The Fyre Festival, which was billed as a high-end destination festival for the jet set, promised music, luxury accommodations, and sumptuous food over two weekends at an island resort in the Bahamas.
However, when guests arrived for the first weekend of the event, they found a shambles, with half-constructed tents, few sanitary facilities, little security and cheese sandwiches instead of gourmet food.
According to the Times, McFarland had secured the property on Great Exuma for the festival just weeks prior to the event and had left himself with what proved to be inadequate time to prepare for an event of the scope promised by Fyre’s marketing.
Compounding his legal woes, McFarland, while on trial for his involvement with the festival, launched a company called NYC VIP Access, which sold tickets that did not exist to events such as Coachella, Burning Man, and the Super Bowl.
McFarland later pleaded guilty to two additional counts of fraud related to his ticketing venture.
Attorneys for McFarland argued that he had made a genuine effort to use money from investors in good faith and suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness.
Federal prosecutors however, described McFarland in a sentencing memorandum as the “consummate con artist” and alleged that he “deceived his investors, customers, and employees while he was living the high life at his luxury apartment, traveling to exclusive locales, staying at luxury hotels, being chauffeured in his Maserati, and entertaining himself and his friends at restaurants, bars, and casinos.”