An attendees-eye view of 2017’s catastrophic Fyre Festival.
Vulture confirmed in March 2019 that two boxes of Fyre merchandise — such as T-shirts and shorts — would be auctioned to help pay back some $26 million that “serial fraudster” founder Billy McFarland owes to people he swindled.
“This Fyre Festival-branded clothing and other items that were seized from Billy McFarland were originally intended to be sold at the Fyre Festival itself but were kept by McFarland, with the intent to sell the items and use the funds to commit further criminal acts while he was on pre-trial release,” U.S. Marshal Ralph Sozio of the Southern District of New York said in a press release about the auction.
“We have an assortment of the ‘real thing’ Fyre Festival-branded tee-shirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, hats, wristbands and medallions,” a spokesman for the Marshals Service’s Manhattan office previously told Vulture in an email, also writing, “We know that there is tremendous interest in these items in the NY metro area in particular.” You can check out the auction site now through August 13, and place bids on items like a white Fyre Festival crewneck sweatshirt, starting at $155.
A black cotton Fyre cap, starting at $205.
And a FyreBookings.com rubber bracelet bearing the slogan, “A conspiracy to change the entertainment industry,” with a starting bid of $17.
McFarland was sentenced in October 2018 to six years in federal prison for orchestrating the sprawling 2017 scam — and running a ticket scheme while he was waiting to be sentenced for his Fyre misdeeds. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office maintained that McFarland tricked Fyre investors out of about $24 million, and a ticket vendor out of some $2 million. The other ticket scheme totaled some $150,000, per federal prosecutors.
As part of his sentence, McFarland was required to pay back proceeds from his frauds. But, McFarland didn’t have nearly that much money in the bank – one court filing indicated that he had $240,000 in an account. So, auctioning off McFarland’s non-cash assets – among them “two large boxes containing Fyre-branded T-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts and other clothing items that were intended for sale at the Fyre Festival” – goes toward repayment.
Of course, the likelihood that a few boxes of Fyre gear will earn 26 million at auction is slim-to-none. So, victims who come forward will receive a percentage of these proceeds “based on their respective losses,” prosecutors previously said.