Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
Fyre Festival

Miss the Fyre Festival? You Can Buy the T-Shirt From the U.S. Government

Billy McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison after the collapse of the now-infamous festival

Fyre Festival merchandise
U.S. Marshals Service

If you missed the infamous international fiasco that was the Fyre Festival in 2017, now's your chance to get some commemorative swag -- from the U.S. government, that is.

The U.S. Marshals Service is auctioning off festival merchandise seized from founder Billy McFarland in an effort to provide restitution to his victims. The 126 items went up for auction Thursday and are available through Aug. 13. As of Friday morning, the high bid was $155 for a hoodie.

“This Fyre Festival-branded clothing and other items that were seized from Billy McFarland were originally intended to be sold at the Fyre Festival itself but were kept by McFarland, with the intent to sell the items and use the funds to commit further criminal acts while he was on pre-trial release,” said Manhattan U.S. Marshal Ralph Sozio in a statement. “The proceeds from the sale of these items, all traceable to McFarland’s $26 million fraud, will go toward the victims of his crimes.”

The now-infamous festival was anything but the ultra-luxurious event promoted as "the cultural experience of the decade" over two weekends and touted on social media by Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and other models and celebrities.

Customers hoping to see Blink-182 and the hip hop act Migos arrived to learn music acts were canceled. Their upscale accommodations and gourmet food consisted of white tents and cheese sandwiches.

McFarland, the promoter of the Bahamas extravaganza-turned-disaster, was sentenced to six years in prison in Manhattan federal court in late 2018.

He twice pleaded guilty to charges. First, he admitted he defrauded investors in the 2017 Fyre Festival. Then, weeks later, he pleaded guilty to charges in a ticket selling scam.

His lawyer had urged leniency, saying McFarland suffers from mental illness that includes delusional beliefs that his talents would lead to "fame and fortune."

NBC New York / The Associated Press
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