The disgraced promoter behind April's disastrous Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland, 25, pleaded not guilty to fraud charges in a Manhattan federal courtroom on Monday (Oct. 2) as part of the continued fall-out from the promised luxury event in the Bahamas that descended into chaos. According to Los Angeles Times, McFarland waived his right to be charged in an indictment returned by a grand jury, instead pleading not guilty to two charges of wire fraud and making false statements to a bank.
The event, promoted as an exclusive get-away on a private island populated by models, with catered food and sets from Blink-182, Migos, Desiigner and others, turned into a nightmare when attendees showed up on the island and found that McFarland's promises were a pipe dream, with no food, shelter or stages for the artists to perform on. McFarland was the subject of a flurry of lawsuits and was arrested on June 30 for illegally obtaining $1.2 million in investments based on false details about Fyre's revenue. If convicted, McFarland could face up to 20 years in prison; he is currently free on bail
McFarland waived indictment on Monday, which means a grand jury will not be convened in the case and it's likely that a plea deal will be sought, even as the matter continues forward to trial. McFarland's partner in the failed venture, rapper Ja Rule, has not been criminally charged, though he is named as a co-defendant in several other lawsuits. A federal U.S. bankruptcy court judge forced the company that owned Fyre into involuntary chapter 7 bankruptcy in August.