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Fyre Festival Organizer Billy McFarland Released on $300,000 Bail — but Has a Public Defender

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Billy McFarland, the supposedly wealthy co-organizer of the disastrous Fyre Festival, arrived at a court hearing with a public defender on Saturday before being released on $300,000 bail following his Friday arrest for wire fraud.

The 25-year-old had not retained a private attorney for the weekend court appearance, despite living in a $21,000-a-month Manhattan penthouse apartment and driving a $110,000 Maserati, the New York Times reports.

His public defender, Sabrina P. Shroff, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.

Mary Altaffer/AP

McFarland was taken into custody on Friday and charged in connection with a scheme to allegedly defraud investors, a plan that allegedly including misrepresenting information about his company, Fyre Media.

McFarland has been in the spotlight since the April collapse of his ultra-luxurious music event. The poorly executed event — which was co-organized with Ja Rule — left hundreds of festival-goers stranded without proper accommodations, electricity and “barely any food.”

In the wake of the fallout, McFarland hired a legal team to defend him against several civil lawsuits and retained a public relations firm to quell the media storm, according to the Times.

McFarland’s finances played a key role at Saturday’s bail-setting hearing, and Shroff told officials then that McFarland had failed to adequately pay his previous lawyers, the Times reports.

Public defenders are utilized in cases of defendants who may not be able to hire a private attorney.

He is expected to appear in court next on July 31, according to the Times.

The Fyre Festival, billed as the next Coachella, was held on the private island of Fyre Cay and tickets for the event ranged from $4,000 to more than $250,000.

Festival-goers expected luxurious villas and musical performances from Blink 182, Rae Sremmurd, Skepta, Desiigner, Tyga, and Pusha T, but arrived on the island to find tents — which included bare mattresses — and unusable latrines.

Fyre Music Festival Apparently Turned Into The Hunger Games For Rich People

“Fyre Fest is a complete disaster,” one person tweeted then. “Mass chaos. No organization. No one knows where to go. There are no villas, just a disaster tent city.”

Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid helped to promote the event, along with a series of flashy Instagram videos showing images of clear blue waters, yachts, private planes, and models.

McFarland told Rolling Stone after the chaos that the island “didn’t have a really great infrastructure — there wasn’t a great way to get guests in here — we were a little bit ambitious.”

“There wasn’t water or sewage,” he continued. “It was almost like we tried building a city out of nothing and it took almost all of our personal resources to make this happen, and everything we had, to make this festival go on. We thought we were ready and built two different festival sites.”

Later, in a statement on the festival’s website, the organizer’s admitted, “We were simply in over our heads.”