Fyre Festival is the gift that keeps on giving—unless of course, you’re Billy McFarland. On Sunday, the New York Times published the definitive autopsy of the ill-fated festival, whose very public unraveling felt like a cosmic comeuppance for snotty millennials and clueless social media influencers who—let’s face it—didn’t exactly inspire sympathy.
It seems that McFarland has a lot more to worry about than his newfound status as a laughingstock. Along with the countless lawsuits being filed against he and his partner, Ja Rule, the Times is reporting that the F.B.I. has launched a criminal investigation into whether or not McFarland’s company, Fyre Media, committed “mail, wire and securities fraud.” The United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has also joined the investigation.
When reached for comment, McFarland had nothing to say about the investigation but did say how sorry he was for not being able to deliver on what he promised. “I’m committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend,” McFarland told the Times.
But according to the Times, the list of people who were deceived and taken advantage of by McFarland is a long one. A local Bahamian woman is owed $134,000 for catering services she provided, while a local carpenter can’t pay his utility bills because he was counting on the $5000 owed to him by festival organizers. Even Blink-182—who pulled out of the festival just before it went up inflames—are owed $330,000, which is the price of getting their gear back from Bahamian customs.
The Times paints McFarland as a brash tech bro who lived his life under the two guiding principles that money can fix anything, and everything is for sale. One particularly entertaining anecdote describes how McFarland once sent out a group text offering advertising space in an upcoming Ja Rule single for $450 a pop. “5 Spots. LMK!” he wrote last year.
Unfortunately for McFarland, a federal investigation won’t just evaporate for the right price. Now if only there some other way around it.