[UPDATE 4/16/21]: After six months spent in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, convicted fraudster and Fyre Festival mastermind Billy McFarland is finally back in the general population. The 29-year-old huckster was originally put into solitary confinement in October 2020 as punishment for participating in an interview for the Dumpster Fyre podcast.
McFarland is currently serving out a six-year prison stint after pleading guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud, and lying to investigators in October 2018. Originally, McFarland was doing his time at FCI Otisville in New York where he rubbed shoulders with Donald Trump‘s former attorney Michael Cohen and Jersey Shore star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino before being transferred to a facility in Elkton, OH. Upon being released from solitary, McFarland has been moved once again, this time to a Federal Transfer Facility in Oklahoma City.
“It was punitive,” McFarland’s attorney Jason Russo told Insider of his client’s move to solitary. “At first, they said he violated rules by speaking to the media — which there is no such rule. Then they accused him of doing three-way calls, which you’re not allowed to do — but these were not three-way calls.”
Russo added that the prison attempted to bring administrative charges against McFarland for pictures posted from the facility to his Instagram page, an account supposedly handled by “Billy’s team.” McFarland’s lawyer claims that prisoners are allowed to take photographs with disposable cameras sold at the commissary and share them as they wish—though the quality of images found on McFarland’s Instagram appear much higher than that of a disposable camera. All of those charges were later dropped, according to Russo, except for McFarland’s violation of a rule forbidding inmates from sharing commissary funds.
[UPDATE 10/24/20]: “Dumpster Fyre” truly remains the only way to describe Fyre Festival fraudster Billy McFarland as his latest publicity stunt—his new podcast produced from his current residence, Elkton Federal Correctional Facility—has landed him in solitary confinement.
According to McFarland’s lawyer as per a New York Times report, McFarland has been in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement since last week, when the first trailer for his desperate Dumpster Fyre podcast was released online. He may remain there for up to 90 days or more, pending an unspecified investigation by the federal Bureau of Prisons.
As the lawyer, Jason Russo, told the Times, “We believe the investigation stems from his participation in the podcast and the photographs that were taken and utilized in the trailer, which were all properly taken. We don’t believe he’s violated any rule or regulation, and there can’t possibly be anything else. He’s been a model prisoner there.”
For what it’s worth, this is not even the first time that this “model prisoner” has been placed in solitary confinement for flouting rules during his ongoing sentence, which his lawyer says is set to extend through 2023.
[Originally published 10/22/20] Elkton Federal Correctional Facility inmate 911860054, better known as Billy McFarland, has launched a new podcast that promises to tell his side of the 2017 Fyre Festival disaster. The first episode of the series was released on Tuesday and is appropriately titled Dumpster Fyre.
McFarland is currently serving a six-year sentence at the Elkton, OH federal penitentiary, where he recorded the podcasts through a series of 15-minute phone calls. Earlier this year, the disgraced “promoter” tried to start a non-profit organization called Project-315. The charity, which McFarland is legally not allowed to operate himself, aimed to provide federal inmates with money for phone calls when COVID-19 put an end to all in-person prison visitation.
In the first episode of the series, McFarland proclaims that he won’t “Hide behind my mistakes,” and will “Share everything that happened” in regards to the infamous music festival. To those who watched the Netflix documentary Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, that guarantee can be hard to believe. McFarland appears in interviews throughout the 2019 film, though he doesn’t provide much information (likely for legal purposes) and only appears to further incriminate himself through his silence or run-around answers that ultimately prove to be false.
Within the first episode of the series, McFarland already shifts the blame to other people in the festival hierarchy. In regards to the private bungalow packages—which hundreds of attendees paid tens of thousands of dollars for only to end up in FEMA disaster tents—he insists that the proper arrangements had been made.
“We had certainly put in the time, effort and funding to secure the villas,” he said. “For a period of four to six weeks before the festival, we actually rented over 200 separate villas and houses.”
Yet, he later maintains that an unspecified individual made off with all of the keys as well as the Excel spreadsheet of which guest was to stay in which cabin. To make the optics of the situation worse, when attendees originally arrived to the island of Exuma, the only person staying in a bungalow was McFarland himself.
“I know some of the guests found their way to the villas and many of them stayed there for the full week, and I’m hoping we can get some of them on to tell their story,” McFarland said in Dumpster Fyre.
The bungalows are but one facet of the myriad of problems that plagued the ill-fated “luxury music festival.” From the lack of amenities to depleted lineup of musicians, to the now-infamous cheese sandwiches, McFarland plans to give the “uncensored, complete story of Fyre Festival.”
However remorseful McFarland appears to be in Dumpster Fyre, the marketing for the podcast—seen on the con’s surprisingly active Instagram page—shows the same kind of all-sizzle-no-steak flash that created the buzz around Fyre in the first place. Along with the podcast’s preview that glamorizes McFarland’s imprisonment, the page also boasts pictures that can only be described as being from some hellish Abercrombie & Fitch felon collection.
Stream the first episode of Dumpster Fyre via the player below or on Apple Podcasts. Any profits generated from the podcast will go toward the $26 million in restitution McFarland owes to the people he defrauded through Fyre Fest.
Dumpster Fyre – Chapter 1 | First Things First
[H/T Brooklyn Vegan]