Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland pleads not guilty to fraud charges

The tech entrepreneur was charged with the offences of wire fraud and making false statements to a bank.

Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud and making false statements to a bank following his arrest in New York in June.

The tech entrepreneur was charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of making false statements to a bank after allegedly defrauding investors in Fyre Media, the company behind Fyre Festival, Variety reports.

It is alleged that McFarland presented fake documents to encourage investors to put over $3 million into his company and the disastrous event.

The festival was scheduled to take place on a private island in the Bahamas at the end of April and was packaged as a luxury getaway, promoted by supermodels including Kendall Jenner. However, it soon descended into chaos when thousands of ticket holders – some of whom had paid up to $12,000 for a ticket – arrived to find what they likened to “refugee camp conditions.”

A number of civil lawsuits have also been filed against McFarland and festival co-founder Ja Rule. Ja Rule has not been criminally charged.