Billy McFarland Net Worth & Biography

By Mixxerly Updated: SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
Image: McFarland at 2016 Web Summit

Introduction

NET WORTH

-$5M

Billy McFarland is the infamous American convicted fraudster who co-founded the ill-fated Fyre Festival (a fake fraudulent luxury music festival). According to Bloomberg, he defrauded investors of $27.4 million by marketing and selling tickets to the festival and other events.

In 2013, McFarland founded Magnises, a club targeted at millennials, using $1.5 million of investor funding. He later founded and acted as CEO of Fyre Media, which developed the Fyre mobile app for booking music talent.

In late 2016, along with rapper Ja Rule, McFarland co-founded the Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival intended to promote the Fyre app. The event was scheduled to take place in April and May 2017.

The event was aborted after attendees had arrived due to problems with security, food, logistics, understaffing, accommodations, and talent relations.

In May 2017, McFarland and Ja Rule were sued for $100 million in a class action lawsuit on behalf of Fyre Festival attendees. The following month, McFarland was arrested and charged with wire fraud in Manhattan federal court for his role in the organization of the festival. Ja Rule was proved not guilty and released from these charges.

After pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud in March 2018, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison in addition to a $26 million in restitution.

As of , trusted sources has calculated that he is in debt. At the moment, he has a negative net worth of about -$5M. Hope he will be able to recover from this soon.

At a Glance

Full name: William Z. McFarland

Other names: Billy McFarland

Birthday: December 11, 1991

Age:

Net worth: -$5 Million (a negative net worth)

Source of wealth: Fraud, Founder and CEO of Fyre Media

Country of origin: United States of America

Net Worth

Due to his multiple fraudulent activities, lawsuits and penalties by the law, McFarland currently is in a great debt and according to trusted sources, he has a negative net worth of about -$5 Million.

Early Life

Billy McFarland was born in born December 11, 1991 in New York City. He spent his childhood in the Short Hills section of Millburn, New Jersey. Both of his parents were involved in real estate business.

According to the New York Times, at a very young age of 13, McFarland founded an online outsourcing company that helped web designers find clients and work online.

In 2010, he graduated from the Pingry School.

McFarland attended Bucknell University, where he would have studied computer engineering, but dropped out in May of his freshman year.

Social Media Presence

Billy McFarland is currently not active in any social media websites. However his team manages his instagram account where he posts occationally.

Career

After dropping out of Bucknell University, Billy founded the short-lived online advertisement platform Spling where he worked as the CEO. According to Techchrunch, Spling was a content sharing network. It was critisized because there were simlar services existed before.

In 2013, McFarland put $1.5 million of investor funding into his payments company "Magnises". The aim of the company was to create an exclusive "black card" with social perks, such as club membership, targeted at status-oriented millennials in certain big cities.

Soon he launched another company named Fyre Media Inc. It was the parent company of the Fyre Festival.

He made and send term sheet to investors which claimed that Fyre Media was worth $90 million. Which apparently came forward as not to be accurate. According to records of the authorities, this company did only about $60,000 in business.

In 2018, The New York Post reported that Anna Sorokin, a fraudster and would-be socialite, may have lived at the SoHo loft owned by McFarland for four months after asking to stay for only a few days. The loft was also used as the headquarters for the defunct club card company Magnises.

What Happened in the Fyre Festival

McFarland founded Fyre Media and publicized a luxury music festival in the Bahamas, called Fyre Festival, to promote the Fyre music-booking application.

The festival, to be held in April 2017, was advertised by a video which included a bevy of Instagram models including Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski who, along with Kendall Jenner, were all expected to be at the festival.

However, the festival experienced a number of serious management, administration and misrepresentation issues and was canceled after guests had begun to arrive on Great Exuma island.

Guests were met with tents and pre-packaged sandwiches instead of the lavish villas and meals they were promised. VIP tickets to the festival cost $49,000. The average day pass cost $450.

The festival subsequently became the focus of U.S. federal investigations and multiple lawsuits.

The controversy around Fyre Festival were detailed in two documentaries in 2019: Hulu released "Fyre Fraud" on January 14, and Netflix released "Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened", directed by Chris Smith, on January 18.

The Trouble Begins

On May 1, 2017, Fyre Festival organizers Billy McFarland and Ja Rule were sued for $100 million in a class action lawsuit in relation to the failed Fyre Festival that left attendees stranded on the island of Great Exuma without basic provisions. Ja Rule later proved to be not guilty.

In addition to the class action lawsuit filed in May 2017, six federal and four individual lawsuits were filed in relation to the scheme.

McFarland was arrested by federal agents on June 30, 2017, and charged with wire fraud in relation to Fyre and Fyre Festival. He was released on $300,000 bail on July 1.

McFarland faced up to four years and nine months under U.S. sentencing guidelines, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristy Greenberg.

She added that McFarland's short but eventful career showed a "pattern of deception" and "overpromising luxury experiences that were not delivered".

In July 2017, McFarland was represented by a public defender at a bail hearing after his previous legal team "had not been paid enough to continue to represent him".

In March 2018, McFarland pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in Federal Court in Manhattan and admitted to using fake documents to attract investors to put more than $26 million into his company.

He agreed to forfeit over $26 million. On June 12, 2018, McFarland was charged with selling fraudulent tickets to events such as the Met Gala, Burning Man, and Coachella while out on bail.

On October 11, 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in federal prison.