The crooked promoter behind the disastrous 2017 Fyre Festival has a mental illness that explains his rampant criminality, his lawyer argues in new papers.
Billy McFarland faces as much as 14 years behind bars when sentenced next month by Judge Naomi Buchwald in Manhattan Federal Court for the Fyre fraud and another shady scheme.
In a new letter to the judge, McFarland’s attorney Randall Jackson, says the shady promoter suffers from “unspecified bipolar related disorder.”
“He was experiencing symptoms of mania or hypomania…He was not sleeping and felt exhausted and overwhelmed. He had a diminished capacity to foresee the consequences of his actions,” Randall writes, citing a psychiatrist’s findings.
McFarland was also “overwhelmed” by the expectation he’d have to pay back $26 million he scammed from investors in the botched concert on a remote island in the Bahamas, the suit says.
The disastrous concert was billed to music fans as an unforgettable “cultural experience.”
But those attending found themselves abandoned on a Great Exuma island with inadequate food, water, bathrooms and housing — and the promised musical acts never materialized.
After McFarland pleaded guilty to the Fyre fraud, McFarland pursued a second $100,000 scheme involving fake tickets to events such as the Met Gala, the Emmy Awards, and even a Cleveland Cavaliers game followed by a team dinner with LeBron James.
That scheme also led to federal criminal charges.
“His misrepresentation of his assets was analogous to his tendency to lie as a child to cover up his disorganization and activities,” Jackson wrote, citing another shrink.