Big Frauds

Fraud on Fyre

Few fraudsters have marketed their schemes on social media as effectively as the organizers of the catastrophic Fyre Festival. They branded the event as “the cultural experience of the decade” for wealthy millennials who were willing to spend thousands of dollars for an exclusive VIP weekend. (See At Up to $250,000 a Ticket, Island Music Festival Woos Wealthy to Stay Afloat, by Hannah Karp, The Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2017.)

According to Vanity Fair, more than 400 celebrities used the event’s social media tag #FyreFestival before the event, which helped to promote this so-called “Coachella in the Bahamas.” The Fyre Festival’s hashtag was viewed more than 500 million times in the first 24 hours, and tickets sold out quickly after that. However, festival organizers were selling a dream — not a reality. They seemingly had no realistic plans to make it happen.

When festivalgoers arrived on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas they wouldn’t find ultra-luxury villas and gourmet chefs — only chaos, lies and disappointment. (See Fyre Festival: Anatomy of a Millennial Marketing Fiasco Waiting to Happen, by Bryan Burrough, Vanity Fair, August 2017.) The disastrous event is just a side note to the main story; McFarland’s multiple fraud schemes could land him in prison.

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