Who is Billy McFarland?

William Z. Billy McFarland is an American convicted of fraud in 2018. He was a former entrepreneur. He co-founded Florida’s Fyre Festival.

Using $1.5 million of investor funding, McFarland launched Magnises in 2013, targeting millennials. He later found Fyre Media and served as the CEO.

The company developed the Fyre app for booking musical talent. Billy and rapper Ja Rule established the Fyre Festival, a grand music event to showcase the Fyre app.

The event was scheduled for April and May 2017. The show was canceled in between because of difficulties in security, food, logistics, understaffing, accommodations, and talent relations.

Daniel Jung, an attendee, and an entertainment lawyer Mark Geragos filed a class-action lawsuit in May 2017 against Billy and Ja Rule seeking $100 million on behalf of the attendees. For his involvement in the festival, authorities arrested Billy McFarland and charged him with wire fraud.

In March 2018, he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and was sentenced to six years in federal prison.

Quick facts

Full Name

William Z. McFarland

Nickname

Billy

Birthday

December 11, 1991

Age 

30 years old

Sun Sign

Sagittarius

Traits

Positive


Fun-loving

Energetic

Adventurous


Negative

Irresponsible

Restless

Tactless

Birthplace

New York, United States.

Currently residing

Jailed at FCI Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio

Graduated high school from the Pingry School

Nationality

American

Ethnicity

Greek American

Height

6ft 4inches

Weight

89kg

Hair color

Brown

Eye color

Blue

Body measurement

42-32-37

Education

Bucknell University (dropped out)

Parents

Irene MacFarland (mother)

Steven McFarland (father)

Marital Status

Single

Girlfriend

Anastasia Eremenko

Criminal charge

Mail and wire fraud

Net Worth

USD 5 million

Social media

Instagram

LinkedIn

interesting facts

1. Billy McFarland is not the fraudster’s real name

Most of the public know the Fyre Festival owner as Billy. In reality, it is just his nickname. Billy’s real name is William Z. McFarland.

2. Billy McFarland is from a privileged family

Billy was born in a family of real estate developers, meaning both of his parents were in the real estate business. His parents, Irene MacFarland and Steve McFarland, also owned the RS Development Corp, a boutique real estate development company.

Due to these, Billy had a privileged childhood and could afford private schooling too. 

3. Billy dropped out of college

Billy McFarland used to study at Buckwell University. However, he dropped out of college in May of his freshman year to establish an online advertisement platform named Spling.

4. He started his first business at the age of 13

Billy set up his first venture when he was only 13 years old. He developed an online outsourcing business that matches websites and web designers.

5. Billy McFarland in a relationship

Billy is dating a Russian model, Anastasia Eremenko. Despite being in jail, they have managed to maintain a long-distance relationship. He sends her letters from prison.

6. Billy McFarland is convicted for six years

After being guilty of two counts of wire fraud, selling fake tickets to mega-events like Met Gala, Coachella, and Burning man, he also used counterfeit documents to lure investors into his company. 

Thus, Billy was sentenced to six years in federal prison on October 11, 2018. 

Billy McFarland childhood

Billy McFarland was born on December 11, 1991, in New York, United States.

McFarland spent his childhood in the Short Hills section of Millburn, New Jersey, with his parents Steven McFarland and Irene Farland.

Billy McFarland parents

Billy McFarland is the son of Irene MacFarland and Steven McFarland.

His mom, Irene, is also known as Renee Zervakos. Both of his parents are real estate developers residing in Westfield, New Jersey. 

Irene and Steve are the owners of RS Development Corp. It is a boutique real estate development company established in 1988. 

Due to their hard work and businesses, Billy grew up in a privileged environment.

education

Billy is a dropout. He joined Bucknell University to study computer engineering as per an interview Billy gave to New York Times.

He completed his senior year in 2010 at Pingry School.

Billy McFarland relationships

girlfriend

Several weeks after the Fyre Festival ended, Billy McFarland met Anastasia Eremenko.

Anastasia is a model by profession. She was born in Rostov, Don, Russia. She shifted to the United States and settled in Wilmington, Delaware, at the age of 17.

Anastasia completed her education at Goldey-Beacom College. Although Anastasia, a professional model, was a bright student, the subject in which she majored is unknown.

She is working under the supervision of Le Management, New Icon, Meraki Models, SPIN Management, Karin Models, New Icon New York, and so on.

About Billy and Anastasia’s relationship, these two are deeply in love with each other. Billy McFarland is still dating model Anastasia Eremenko from prison.

Despite being behind bars, McFarland still has a long-distance relationship with the Russian model Anastasia Eremenko.

She also receives love letters straight from jail from Billy. We haven’t heard any news of engagement about the two but we are expecting that the couple may move their relationship to the next level once Billy has served his sentence.

Billy McFarland and Ja Rule

Jeffrey Atkins, aka Ja Rule, is an American rapper, songwriter, singer, and actor. He co-founded the festival along with Billy McFarland and repeatedly promoted it to millions of his fans.

Fyre Festival was the biggest scam recorded in recent years.

The lawsuit was filed against the festival and its organizers started two years after its disastrous staging.

Judge Kevin Castel said plaintiffs could not show that Ja Rule’s promotion of the event on his social pages directly resulted in their purchases.

Ryan Hayden Smith, Ja Rule lawyer, told AllHipHop, “This ruling is nothing short of a total vindication of Mr. Atkins.”

Even though Ja Rule was dismissed from the $100 million lawsuits, McFarland remains behind bars.

Billy McFarland and Andy King

Andy King is the producer of the Fyre Festival. In a documentary, ‘Fyre’ Andy revealed what lengths he was willing to go in order to rescue the festival from collapse.

McFarland had apparently asked King to perform oral sex with the customs officials instead of paying $175,000 to release the four 18-wheeler trucks loaded with Evian water from Bahamian customs.

King, however, did not back down, he instead, showed up to McFarland’s request ready to carry it out.

Because customs agreed to a payment extension, no sexual favors had to be exchanged in the end, he said.

Billy and Anna Sorokin

Known for her part in a fraudulent scandal, Anna Sorokin is a German-born Russian citizen. After moving to NYC in 2013, the woman created a fictitious identity of Anna Delvey, pretending to be a wealthy German heiress.

“Anna Delvey”, a wannabe German heiress, managed to enter the SoHo headquarters of McFarland’s credit-card company, Magnises in 2013. The woman refused to leave the property, living there for 4 months rent-free.

According to the sources, “Anna knew the people on Billy’s team and asked if she could stay a few days then did not leave.”

‘Anna Delvey’ was identified as Russian-born Anna Sorokin after four years. She was accused of scamming multiple luxury hotels and using the same trick as Billy McFarland and defrauded a huge sum of money from friends, banks, and businesses.

Billy and Carola Jain

Carola Jain was part of a team that lent Billy McFarland $4 million. Like many people, Carola also saw great potential in McFarland.

The Jerry Media CEO, Mick Purzycki told in a Netflix documentary that Carola was a “big Billy believer” from the beginning. He said, “She had always been around, always supporting this kid, always believing in his ability to become the next big entrepreneur.”

Billy had support from Carola even before Fyre was a concept. It has been reported that she was one of the earliest investors in McFarland’s first company, Magnises, which he established at the age of 24. A card-based membership service, Magnises was founded in August 2013. It was a substitute card for an existing customer’s credit card rather than a real credit card.

Additionally, Carola Jain is also known for investing in a lot of companies. Among her numerous investments are Juice Press, a USD 75 million company, and the Wing, a popular women’s group.

Billy McFarland fraud 

In a class-action lawsuit settlement, Fyre Festival organizers Billy McFarland and Ja Rule were hit with a USD 100 million lawsuit for their failed festival. The festival left many attendees stranded without basic provisions in the Great Exuma.

Additionally, an individual lawsuit and six federal lawsuits were filed against the scheme in May 2017. Federal agents arrested McFarland on June 30, 2017, and charged him with wire fraud in connection with Fyre.

Read about famous celebrity who was jailed for fraud

On July 1, he was released on USD 300,000 bail. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristy Greenberg stated McFarland could be sentenced up to four years and nine months under U.S. sentencing guidelines. She pointed out that McFarland’s limited but formative career exhibited deception and oversold luxury experiences it wasn’t able to deliver.

The previous legal team of McFarland was not paid enough to continue representing him at a bail hearing in July 2017, so a public defender represented him at the hearing. McFarland then appointed Boies, Schiller & Flexner as representation.

Billy McFarland sentence

McFarland was guilty of two counts of wire fraud in March 2018 in Federal Court in Manhattan, admitting to using fake documents to attract investors that invested more than USD 26 million in his company. He forfeited the vast majority of his USD 26 million.

McFarland was charged on June 12, 2018, with selling fraudulent tickets to events such as the Met Gala, Burning Man, and Coachella while he was out on bail. McFarland was convicted to six years in federal prison on October 11, 2018.

MacFarland is currently held at FCI Elkton, in the city of Lisbon, Ohio. During the COVID-19 pandemic of April 2020, McFarland requested a compassionate release from prison to avoid contracting the virus. His request was denied the same month.

McFarland tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility in July 2020.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Billy McFarland fyre festival: What happened at Fyre Festival?

In order to promote the Fyre Music app for luxury music festivals in the Bahamas, McFarland founded the Fyre Media company and organized the Fyre Festival.

The festival, which was planned for April 2017, was promoted with a video that included several Instagram models, including Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski, along with Kendall Jenner were expected to attend.

The festival was forced to be canceled after guests started arriving at Great Exuma Island due to serious problems in management, administration, and misrepresentations. Instead of the elegant villas and meals that were promised, guests were given tents and pre-packaged sandwiches.

Subsequently, the festival became the target of two U.S. federal investigations and numerous lawsuits.

In order to organize the festival, McFarland borrowed as much as $7 million, taking a single loan with an annualized rate of over 120 percent. The lender sued McFarland since he defaulted on the loan.

Fyre Festival’s controversy was examined in two documentaries in 2019: Fyre Fraud was released on Hulu on January 14, and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Was on Netflix,  directed by Chris Smith, on January 18.

Billy McFarland net worth

In 2021, we are estimating Billy McFarland’s net worth around USD-5 million. The Fyre Festival is the primary reason for his downfall.

social media

Billy has more than 5.7k followers on Instagram. His Instagram id is Billy McFarland  and he can be found on LinkedIn

Billy McFarland now

McFarland just got released from six-month solitary confinement for recording a podcast interview inside the prison premises.

Currently, Billy is detained at FCI Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio. However, according to his lawyer, he is currently scheduled to be released on August 30, 2023.

F.A.Qs

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