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Fyre Festival promoter to plead guilty to fraud

Chance Yeh/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Fyre Festival sounded idyllic: upscale accommodations, gourmet food and top musical talent over two weekends in the Bahamas.

But ultimately the April to May 2017 event descended into disarray. The event, tickets for which cost up to thousands of dollars, erupted into what the Bahamas' Ministry of Tourism called "total disorganization and chaos" after hundreds of prospective concertgoers landed in the Bahamas and found poorly built tents, a lack of food and clean water and an insufficient number of public toilets, complained many of the concertgoers. The planned lineup included Ja Rule, Daya and Tyga.

Scenes of chaos also played out on social media, as many festivalgoers turned to Twitter to post photos of the disappointing venue.

Federal prosecutors ended up charging the promoter, Billy McFarland, with fraud. Now he will plead guilty.

McFarland was due Tuesday in Manhattan federal court to admit he “conducted a scheme to defraud individuals by inducing them to invest millions of dollars in Fyre Media,” court records said.

In all, 70 investors collectively lost more than $20 million. McFarland used $150,000 of that to book a yacht for Blink-182, a source familiar with the case said. Blink-182 ultimately canceled its appearance at Fyre Festival. The amount spent on the yacht was first reported by Page Six.

McFarland is admitting he manipulated Fyre Media financial statements, promoted talent bookings that did not exist and “repeatedly made misrepresentations to investors designed to overstate the company’s condition and stability,” according to court records.

McFarland was arrested last June and has been free on $300,000 bail.

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