Fyre Festival fraudster Billy McFarland celebrated his release from a halfway house by throwing himself a cocktail party at a Manhattan bistro, according to a report.
McFarland, who was sentenced to six years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to bilking investors out of some $26 million following the music festival fiasco, was released from a Brooklyn halfway house last week.
For six months, he was required to wear an ankle bracelet monitoring his movements, which were limited to the halfway house, the grocery store and a local gym.
On the night he was freed, the 30-year-old invited friends to a party at Marylou, a French bistro in the East Village. Among those in attendance were two of his ex-employees from the Bahamas who worked for him in helping put together the disastrous music festival on the Caribbean island.
McFarland told The New York Times that he’s looking to get into tech. He must pay full restitution to his victims.
“If I worked in finance, I think it would be harder to get back,” he told the Times.
“Tech is more open. And the way I failed is totally wrong, but in a certain sense, failure is OK in entrepreneurship.”
McFarland added: “At the end of the day, I think I could probably create the most value by building some sort of tech product.”
“Whether that’s within a company or by starting my own company, I’m open to both. I’ll probably decide in the next couple of weeks which path to go do.”
The New Jersey native spent four years in prison — which included two stints in solitary confinement for violating prison rules, according to the Times.
McFarland told the Times that he tried to smuggle a USB drive into prison as part of an effort to gather information for a possible memoir.
He told the Times that he now lives in a small apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. McFarland said that his rent is covered by friends and family, though he wouldn’t say whether his parents are helping him out.
McFarland told the Times that his parents — real estate developers Steven and Irene McFarland — couldn’t grasp how “someone they were so close to was capable of lying like I did.”
“I hurt them, and it sucks,” he said.
McFarland said that he had not apologized to his victims, asking the Times: “What would you say to them if you were me?”
He also reportedly took umbrage at press coverage comparing him to Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff.
Madoff died in prison at the age of 82 last year after he was sentenced to 150 years behind bars for orchestrating a $17.5 billion Ponzi scheme.
McFarland told the Times that he never swindled people out of their life savings and that it wasn’t his intention for his plans for the festival to go awry.
McFarland enlisted celebrities and social media influencers like musician Ja Rule, who helped plan the event, and Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and Emily Ratajkowski to promote a luxury music festival on the Bahamian island of Exuma in 2017.
Fans paid $12,000 per ticket only to discover that the resort was instead a dilapidated collection of tents and mattresses that were turned inside out by a massive storm.
Attendees, who had been promised lavish accommodations and luxury meals, instead posted images of plain cheese sandwiches in a box.
The disastrous event was the subject of widely viewed documentaries that streamed on Hulu and Netflix.