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SEC charges Fyre Festival founder with investor fraud

Joe Mont | July 24, 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Tuesday that New York entrepreneur William Z. (Billy) McFarland, two companies he founded, a former senior executive, and a former contractor have all agreed to settle charges arising out of an extensive, multi-year offering fraud that raised at least $27.4 million from more than 100 investors.

If McFarland’s name rings a bell, it may very well be because he gained international notoriety after his Fyre Festival, marketed as an upscale music festival in the Bahamas, devolved into a disaster area with stranded attendees, no-show entertainers and celebrities, not enough water, and bologna sandwiches often substituting for the gourmet meals initially promised.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that McFarland fraudulently induced investments into his companies Fyre Media, Fyre Festival, and Magnises in connection with the so-called “once-in-a-...

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