Photo by Mark Lennihan
The infamous conman behind the ill-fated Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland, has been released from prison early – though it is unclear whether he is at a halfway house or home. According to TMZ on March 30 he was transferred to community confinement and expected to remain there through August.
In 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years after a guilty plea for two counts of wire fraud over Fyre Festival. The class-action settlement reached between the festival’s organizers and 277 ticket holders agreed each ticket holder will receive roughly $7,200.
After the disastrous event on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma – which promised unmatched luxury only to deliver FEMA disaster tents and wet cheese sandwiches – McFarland initially faced 20 years in prison. As part of his plea deal, McFarland agreed to give $26 million to reimburse the thousands he conned, some of whom paid $12,000.
Two years ago, McFarland requested to be released early describing his experiences in prison, which was rejected. In the document filed on April 14, 2020, he wrote, “I thought seeing people get stabbed, threatened, raped, and even commit suicide, would be enough. I thought that when someone came into my cell with a knife, and said, ‘only one of us leaves alive,’ I’d realize how horribly wrong I went. This all may have scarred me straight.” He went on to say, “I’m proud that during my time in solitary, I was able to realize that I needed to reset. I promised myself that I’d make this the best thing to ever happen to me, the ones I love, and the ones I hurt and let down.”
It is also notable that at one point McFarland shared his intention to write a memoir on the experience.