New York County Judge Joel H. Cohen has ordered Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland to pay back nearly $3 million to a sponsor of the event. A default judgement was handed out in favor of defrauded investor EHL Funding after McFarland “failed to appear, answer or otherwise move in this action.”
McFarland has been ordered to pay back the nearly $3 million loan plus the contractually stipulated 30 percent interest. EHL Funding is also requesting that McFarland reimburse its attorney fees.
EHL Funding provided McFarland with the loan to put on the music festival, but Fyre stopped paying back the money in April of 2017, the same month the highly-publicized failed event.
McFarland can add the new debt to the more than $24 million he owes after his SEC settlement. Last July, McFarland, his former businesses (millennial-directed credit card company Magnises and Fyre Media), a former executive and a former contractor were charged with fraud for misleading over 100 investors into providing at least $24.7 million for their failed businesses.
Also in July, Fyre Festival attendees Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson won a $5 million settlement against McFarland after he failed to respond to court proceedings for over a year. Crossno and Thompson are the first of the festival’s victims to obtain a judgment against McFarland, who each were awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages for flights, hotels and mental anguish, pain and suffering. They were each also awarded an additional $1 million in punitive damages.
In October, McFarland pleaded guilty to fraud and is now serving a six-year sentence in a prison in New York.
McFarland and rapper Ja Rule who helped promote the festival are also named as defendants in a $100 million class-action lawsuit brought by celebrity law firm Geragos & Geragos.