Fyre Festival fraudster Billy McFarland is secretly sprung from prison

Fyre Festival fraudster Billy McFarland is secretly sprung from prison

Soccer News

News of the early releases of two of the most notorious New York City scammers – Fyre Festival fraudster Billy McFarland and ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli – broke on the same day.

McFarland was secretly sprung from prison on March 30 and sent to community confinement after serving less than four years of his initial six-year sentence, TMZ reported.

Meanwhile, Shkreli was released almost two years early on Wednesday, having served just five of a seven-year stretch behind bars.

Shkreli and McFarland, both initially set for release in 2023, were transported to halfway houses, where they will be held until October and August, respectively.

McFarland pleaded guilty to counts of wire fraud in March 2018 after scamming 80 investors into putting money in the bogus ‘luxury’ Fyre Festival – which had no food, toilets, music, or even basic accommodations.  

Shkreli was jailed for running a pyramid scheme to prop up his pharma empire in 2015. He was already known as one of the most hated men in America for jacking up the price of a life-saving AIDS drug from $13.50 to $750. 

The rather odd coincidence prompted an array of reactions from Twitter users who went from decrying the ‘charlatans” releases to pitching reality shows with Anna Delvey in which they ‘redeem’ themselves for their scams and even hoping they meet with veteran internet troller and richest-man-alive Elon Musk. 

They were indeed portrayed in Delvey’s Netflix series Investing Anna, in which Shkreli was featured  ‘playing AmEx roulette’ with Delvey and McFarland as her roommate – both events that reportedly happened in real life. 

News of the early releases of two of the most notorious New York City scammers – Fyre Festival fraudster Billy McFarland and ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli – broke on the same da

The rather odd coincidence prompted an array of reactions from Twitter users

Others ventured to suggest a collaboration between the two notorious scammers: Martin Shkreli and Billy McFarland both out on early release on the SAME DAY?! Can’t wait for this disaster collab.’

‘After Elizabeth Holmes, Billy McFarland, Simon Leviev and Martin Shkreli get out of jail, a reality TV show about them creating a startup to redeem themselves would be hilarious,’ offered user @amalsony_

Twitter users had a field day giving their insight into the rare coincidence of Shkreli and McFarland’s early releases. 

‘Billy McFarland and Martin Shkreli both getting out from prison at the same time. The simulation writers are getting lazy,’ user Cass Anderson tweeted. 

Others ventured to suggest a collaboration between the two notorious scammers: Martin Shkreli and Billy McFarland both out on early release on the SAME DAY?! Can’t wait for this disaster collab.’    

‘Martin Shkreli and Billy McFarland are both out of prison and I’m excited to see what future projects they have in store!’ Michael Walchalk wrote. 

Steve Mullis jokingly pitched  ‘A Mod Squad reboot,’ with Shkreli, Anna Delvey and McFarland doing small and medium-size scams. 

‘After Elizabeth Holmes, Billy McFarland, Simon Leviev and Martin Shkreli get out of jail, a reality TV show about them creating a startup to redeem themselves would be hilarious,’ offered user @amalsony_.

McFarland and Shkreli were indeed acquaintances of the fake German heiress.

In an episode of Inventing Anna, Delvey lived with McFarland in the headquarters of his start-up credit company Magnises.  

‘Anna knew people on Billy’s team,’ a source told Page Six. ‘She just asked to stay for a few days … then she wouldn’t leave.’ 

‘She hung out and went to the parties,’ the insider added. ‘She was there, just sitting there — all the time.’ 

But the short-lived friendship ended prematurely after Delvey’s alleged bad habits made McFarland move his company into a townhouse to make her leave. 

Delvey’s relationship with Shkreli was nowhere near as deep as it was with the Fyre Festival con artist. 

The fake heiress only shared one dinner with the Pharma Bro – and according to Netflix played AmEx roulette with him and a large group to choose who would cover the dinner.  

Shkreli, Delvey and McFarland have paid for their scams with jail time. Most recently, Shkreli was ordered to pay $64 million in profits he made from raising drug prices.

McFarland agreed to pay $26 million to reimburse his victims after his 2018 plea deal.  And Delvey, after her Netflix deal, paid $200,000 to hers. 

‘Billy McFarland and Martin Shkreli both getting out from prison at the same time. The simulation writers are getting lazy,’ user Cass Anderson tweeted

Steve Mullis jokingly pitched ‘A Mod Squad reboot,’ with Shkreli, Anna Delvey and McFarland doing small and medium-size scams

Billy McFarland bogus Fyre Festival  

McFarland and rapper Ja Rule drew millions in investments with the promise of putting on a first-of-its-kind, luxury music festival event in The Bahamas with models, DJs, luxury dwellings and extravagant meals. 

They paid models like Kendall Jenner to promote the event on Instagram and blasted seduction promo videos and pictures to lure people into buying tickets that were sold at thousands of dollars each. 

But the event was a disaster, with people arriving on the island of Great Exuma to find a scene more closely resembling a disaster relief camp than a luxury festival.

Court filings documents described the scene met by concert goers upon their arrival as ‘total disorganization and chaos.’ The ‘luxury accommodations’ were FEMA disaster relief tents, the ‘gourmet food’ was barely passable cheese sandwiches served in Styrofoam containers and the ‘hottest musical acts’ nowhere to be seen.

The festival sold a total of around 8,000 tickets for two weekends. With attendees having spent between $1,000 to $12,000 on ticket to the festival, it was cancelled on its opening day, leaving people stuck on the island without many basic amnesties

Businessman Billy McFarland teamed with rapper Ja Rule to create Fyre Festival, which was touted as a once-in-a-lifetime event filled with glamour, big-name bands and luxurious experiences; promotional materials such as the video above painted a picture of beauty and fun in the sun

Fyre Festival was scheduled to take place on a private island in the Bahamas over two decadent weekends in Spring 2017 – but the promised luxury accommodation was replaced by disaster recovery tents and bare mattresses on an unfinished gravel site

Festivalgoers – mostly from the millenial generation, the event’s target audience – had shelled out thousands of dollars to attend, with one package costing a whopping $250,000

Organizers had promised a luxury once-in-a-lifetime experience – but fed those attending this soggy cheese sandwich, which went viral as ticketholders expressed outrage on social media

Fyre Festival was the brainchild of businessman Billy McFarland, right, and rapper Ja Rule, who both heavily promoted the event – and now face multiple lawsuits 

Two documentaries, one on Netflix and another on Hulu, were made detailing the event’s organisation and ensuing chaos. 

McFarland was arrested in June 2017 and pleaded guilty to numerous fraud charges relating to both the Fyre Festival and his company NYC CIP Access, which also sold fake tickets to events such as the Met Gala.

He was sentenced to six years in prison in October 2018 and ordered to pay $5 million to two North Carolina residents who spent about $13,000 each of VIP packages to the Fyre Festival. Ja Rule was cleared of any wrongdoing a year later.

Numerous lawsuits were also filed against the pair, and McFarland apologised.

‘I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am that we fell short of our goal,’ McFarland said in a statement in 2017, but he declined to comment on specific allegations. 

‘I’m committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend.’

The organizers attributed the event’s cancellation to a number of factors, including the weather. But some employees of the Fyre company said its bosses has invented features of the event – such as $400,000 accommodation called the ‘Artist’s Palace ticket package – just to see if people would by them. 

‘Billy went to jail, ticket holders can get some money back, and some very entertaining documentaries were made,’ Ben Meiselas, a partner at Geragos & Geragos and the lead lawyer representing the ticket holders told the New York Times in an email. ‘Now that’s justice.’ 

‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli pharmaceutical controversy 

Additional reporting by Alyssa Guzman  

Shkreli, who once led Vyera Pharmaceuticals, was convicted of two counts of securities fraud and a single count of conspiracy and sentenced in 2018, to seven years in prison.

The court heard he defrauded investors by lying to them about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, withdrawing more money from those funds than he was entitled to get, and defrauding investors in a drug company, Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of its stock. 

‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli, 39, has been released from his prison sentence early on Wednesday – serving five years of a seven-year stretch behind bars. He posted this picture of himself today, apparently still in grey prison sweats, after leaving jail.

Shkreli posted it on Facebook with the caption ‘Getting out of real prison is easier than getting out of Twitter prison’ 

Shkreli, 39, appeared to be filming something as he was driven away from jail 

He was seen wearing a gray sweatshirt and pants upon his early release from prison and a man named Edmund Sullivan claimed to have picked him up and posted photos of the two together in the car 

He took $11million of stock from his firm and shelled it out to investors in two failed hedge funds he ran.

In 2015, he became infamous for suddenly raising the price of the drug Daraprim in 2015 by 5,000 percent – from $13.50 a pill to $750. The drug treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems. 

Shkreli became the ‘most hated man in America’ after the move.  

Read More