The blows keep on coming for the co-creators of the now-infamous Fyre Festival.
According to the New York Times, a criminal investigation has been launched looking into the festival for possible mail, wire and securities fraud – spearheaded by the F.B.I. and the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York.
A source told the outlet that the investigation is being overseen by a prosecutor that works in the complex frauds and cybercrime unit.
Earlier this month, Ja Rule and Billy McFarland were also hit with a $100 million class-action lawsuit, as well as a second class-action suit for negligent misrepresentation and fraud. The number of lawsuits has since increased to over a dozen, the Times reports.
McFarland, 25, issued a statement through his lawyers to the Times, saying, “I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am that we fell short of our goal.”
“I’m committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend.”
Ja Rule’s attorney, Stacey Richman, further stated that the artist “would never participate in anything fraudulent; it’s simply not in his DNA.”
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The headline-making Fyre Festival was shopped as a luxury music festival, featuring impressive headliners, top of the line accommodations and dining options from celebrity chefs. Tickets were not cheap: attendees paid between $1,500 to $12,000 for their trip to Great Exuma in the Bahamas.
Attendees were shocked upon arrival, however, to find the complete opposite of what models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid hawked on social media. Headliners dropped out of the line-up, and instead of luxury accommodations, festivalgoers were greeted by flimsy relief tents.
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Amid the mass chaos, the entire event was canceled as organizers attempted to safely get attendees off of Great Exuma.
According to the Times, employees questioned Ja Rule and McFarland over the festival’s unraveling and fears that fraud had been committed.
“That’s not fraud, that’s not fraud,” the rapper said on a recording from a May company meeting, reported the Times. “False advertising, maybe — not fraud.”
The Times also reported that several employees of McFarland’s Fyre Media claim that some of the more higher-end, promised accommodations – those costing thousands – were merely offered to see if anyone would actually bite.
Further, employees told the newspaper that McFarland was still scouting locations for the festival long after tickets were sold. In fact, many of his trips to the Bahamas were aboard private planes with models, according to the company sources.