Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland allegedly told witnesses he would flee the country if he was facing serious jail time and prosecutors used that to get his bail revoked.
McFarland went before a judge on Monday where it was determined he was a serious risk of flight after he was re-arrested on new charges last week. According to court docs, prosecutors claim McFarland has been committing crimes for the majority of his time on pretrial release.
In addition to the ticket scam, they claim McFarland forged the name and signature of his on a $25,000 check with the employee’s bank account number. Prosecutors claim McFarland met with his driver to give him the forged check — which the driver tried to cash — but it was rejected due to the account being closed.
Billy McFarland is also accused of tampering with three witnesses in connection with the government’s investigation into his new criminal conduct. Once he learned the government was investigating him, he allegedly “told three witnesses with knowledge of the defendant’s criminal conduct not to speak to FBI agents if approached about the defendant, to tell FBI agents that they had counsel (when they did not), and to report any such incidents to the defendant.”
Prosecutors go on to say, “The defendant’s clear intent to prevent witnesses’ communications with law enforcement agents relating to the commission of his crimes while on pretrial release demonstrates not only his blatant lack of compliance with the conditions of his bail, but also that there are no conditions or combination of conditions that can be set to prevent the defendant from contacting and tampering with witnesses and evidence.”
Prosecutors also claim McFarland deleted a series of encrypted messages between himself and his driver from the driver’s phone. But prosecutors allege, “Unbeknownst to the defendant, the Driver had preserved those messages on another phone.”
Further, they claim the new charges carry a potential sentence of 87-108 months — or 63-78 months with acceptance of responsibility — and believe McFarland is a “significant” flight risk.
McFarland allegedly even discussed the possibility of fleeing the county with several people, noting he would most likely flee if he thought he was facing more than three years in prison and told them people had the means to flee.
The witnesses Billy McFarland allegedly spoke to informed the investigators that McFarland said he had access to pilots and carried a lot of cash on him. McFarland reported to his probation officer that he had $50k cash and was paid $40k a month for freelance work. They point to him staying in luxury hotels and dining at expensive restaurants while on pretrial release.
The judge bought the argument and revoked his bail at the hearing.