Following Tourism Minister Chester Cooper’s labeling of Fyre Festival fraudster as “a fugitive,” Billy McFarland says he wants Bahamians to restore their trust in him as he seeks to reimburse the people he duped out of thousands of dollars in 2017.
“I would like to start making small positive steps. Unfortunately, I don’t have the backing I had five, or six years ago, but as I earn I would like to start making payments and I would like to start engaging with the community as much as possible,” McFarland said in a voice note.
McFarland was handed down a 6-year sentence in a US court in 2018 and was ordered to pay $26 million in restitution to investors and vendors. He was released in August after 4 years and has since returned to the Bahamas with cameras in tow as he embarks on a new adventure–a scavenger hunt in Bahamian waters.
This angered caterer Elvis Rolle who with his wife Maryann, lost $50,000 in food preparation for the festival that never happened.
The government on Monday then attempted to take a hard line on McFarland’s return stating that the promoter is being sought by police after “several pending complaints [were] made against him with the Royal Bahamas Police Force.”
Cooper then prompted anyone knowing of McFarland’s whereabouts to report it to the police.
While McFarland has not indicated where he is in the Bahamas, he stated, that since his release from prison, he attempted to find out which vendors needed to be reimbursed in the Bahamas and how he can take steps to repay them.
“I made some really bad decisions five years ago and I’m learning the ramifications of my actions.
“There’s nothing more I want to do than rebuild trust,” he said.
McFarland conducted an interview with Good Morning America last week after his release from prison and apologized to the vendors and investors he conned.
In April 2017, McFarland along with Ja Rule organized the Fyre Festival, promoting it as a luxurious music event in Exuma. Several celebrities got on board to promote the event including Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. But when thousands of concertgoers landed on the island, they were met with tents stocked with wet mattresses, cold food, and music acts that never showed up.