Did the festival from hell involve mail, wire and securities fraud?

By Hayden Wright

Fyre Festival captivated the Internet when the fancy music summit turned out to be a ramshackle tourist trap. Ticketholders made their way to a remote Bahamian island (at the behest of Instagram “influencers” and Ja Rule) only to find disaster relief tents, sand bugs, and sad cheese sandwiches. The first class-action civil suits have been filed against organizers but it appears festival masterminds may also face criminal charges.

Related: Ja Rule’s Fyre Festival Flop Sparks Second Class Action Lawsuit

The F.B.I. is investigating potential mail, wire and securities fraud related to the festival, reports The New York Times. A prosecutor for the Southern District of New York’s cyber crimes unit is reportedly looking into the situation, though both the D.A. and the F.B.I. declined to comment for the Times‘ story. An investigation would determine whether the implosion of Fyre Festival was an unfortunate fluke or the result of criminal activity.

The report also outlines potential victims of the crime: In addition to ticketholders who lost thousands of dollars and the fabulous weekend they were promised, Fyre Festival also courted investors. Contractors (like caterers, marketers and set-up professionals) say they haven’t been paid for their efforts and reports surfaced that festival head Billy McFarland suspended payroll in the run-up to the festival—leaving his employees out to dry. Blink-182 claims some of their equipment (for a scheduled appearance) is still tied up in customs in the wake of the debacle.

Victims of the failed festival may recoup some of their losses in civil proceedings but if a Justice Department investigation finds wrongdoing, the organizers may have even steeper consequences to face over the legendary calamity.


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