Ja Rule's Fyre Festival organiser charged with fraud

  • 01/07/2017

The organiser behind Ja Rule's 'luxury' Fyre Festival has been charged with wire fraud after the festival turned into a fiasco.

It had been billed as "the unparalleled best in music, cuisine, design and hospitality" and was promoted with a splashy video featuring the likes of Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski.

Promotional material depicted people sunning on the beach of an island "once owned by Pablo Escobar", riding jet skis, and luxuriating on yachts.

But it fell apart, with the actual event being compared to The Hunger Games and refugee camps.

Festival-goers turned up to an unassembled festival site, lost luggage and inadequate transportation, while flights from Miami were cancelled because the island was "over capacity", according to reports.

Now the man behind the disaster, 25-year-old William McFarland, faces prosecution for allegedly planning to defraud the festival's investors.

"William McFarland promised a 'life changing' music festival, but in actuality delivered a disaster," lawyer Joon Kim said on Friday (local time).

"McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival. Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, McFarland will now have to answer for his crimes."

A Vice report revealed that McFarland had blown the budget on Instagram models and refused to arrange several essential utilities, such as toilets and showers.

He had also paid some staff with wads of cash rather than through a payroll system.

In addition, McFarland is alleged to have flouted local customs tax laws, trying to pin the blame on bad weather, and held lavish parties on yachts in the weekends leading up to the festival.

One Fyre employee Vice spoke to said McFarland would only allow males and models at the parties, and would regularly "talk about f**king bitches and hoes in conference meetings".

Rapper Ja Rule, another chief organiser, has also been slammed for attempting to shift blame.

Festival-goers have now had their tickets refunded.