McFarland's wire fraud counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and he has consented to a forfeiture order in the amount of $26,040,099.48, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
"My intention and effort was directed to organizing a legitimate festival", McFarland said in a clear voice to U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan. According to the USA attorney's office, McFarland engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in company Fyre Media LLC, as well as a related entity responsible for organizing the festival, which took place in the Bahamas.
The two-weekend event was advertised as "life-changing" and "the cultural experience of the decade".
The Bahamian festival was founded in part by rapper Ja Rule and as a way to build the digital app, Fyre music.
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"In order to procure these investments, McFarland provided materially false information", the office said a year ago.
In all, prosecutors said in a release that McFarland bilked over 80 investors of more than $26 million. But the end result was far from what was promised, with bands bowing out, flights being limited, lodging not being adequate, food being subpar and even restroom facilities being lacking.
Under the organiser's plea agreement he will face eight to ten years in prison, a fine of $300 000 and he will have to pay restitution.
A lawsuit filed in May by festival attendees Matthew Herlihy and Anthony Lauriello accuses McFarland and festival co-founder Ja Rule of "false representations, material omissions and negligence". It said the festival's inadequate food, water, shelter and medical care left attendees stranded on a remote island in a "dangerous and panicked situation". "He now awaits sentencing for his admitted swindle".
McFarland is free on bail, living with his parents in New Jersey. The event was meant to be a destination festival in the Bahamas featuring major acts, promoted by supermodels and set against the backdrop of luxury.