Fyre Festival Organizer Billy McFarland Gets Early Prison Release, Transferred to Community Confinement: Report

The disgraced CEO and founder of the ill-fated festival was serving a six-year sentence after pleading guilty to fraud in March 2018

In this March 6, 2018 file photo, Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges in New York. More than three years after the highly publicized Fyre Festival famously fizzled out in the Bahamas, merchandise and other "minor assets" are available for purchase, courtesy the U.S. Marshals Service from Texas-based Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers.
Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP Photo

Disgraced Fyre Festival organizer William "Billy" McFarland has received an early release from prison.

According to a Thursday report from TMZ, the infamous scammer was released from prison on March 30 and transferred to community confinement. Though further details on McFarland's status in the facility are unclear, Federal Bureau of Prisons records state viewed by PEOPLE show that he is expected to stay through the end of August.

McFarland's attorney Jason Russo did not immediately respond PEOPLE's request for comment.

The 30-year-old Fyre CEO and founder was serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in March 2018 to wire fraud charges in connection with the failed festival.

In 2020, right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, McFarland petitioned for an early release over concerns that his preexisting health conditions made him particularly susceptible to contracting the virus.

His plea for compassionate release was made through his lawyers to U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald, according to court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter and The Wrap at the time.

In the docs, McFarland's legal team describe their client as nonviolent offender, arguing that his alleged medical history of asthma, severe allergies and heart issues would place him at a severe risk should he contract COVID-19 behind bars.

The lawyers say that McFarland should be released to home confinement instead, which they claim he would have been a candidate for beginning in 2021.

Billy McFarland attends NY: 23rd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction on July 30, 2016 at The Watermill Center in Water Mill, USA.
Steve Eichner/NameFace/Sipa USA

"Mr. McFarland is not a risk to the community nor a threat to public safety," the letter read, the two outlets reported. "The crime to which he pled guilty for was the non-violent financial crime of wire fraud. However, he is a low risk of recidivism for such financial crimes as he has explained that he has a supportive family that has attested to providing for his basic needs."

In a statement to PEOPLE at the time, McFarland's attorney Robert J. Hantman said, "As reflected in his filing and his personal plea to the court, Mr. McFarland hopes to redeem himself and dedicate himself to satisfying his legal obligations. This can be done only if he is healthy and alive."Continued Hantman, "Judge Buchwald is a tough, fair and compassionate judge and we are confident that she will look at our request with an open mind."

The disgraced CEO and founder pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, effectively swindling over 80 investors out of a collective $26 million. He copped to two counts of bank fraud — one for a "sham ticket scheme" that sold approximately $100,000 worth of tickets to fictitious events, and another for falsifying a check by using the name and account number of one of his employees without their consent — and also pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal law enforcement.

Since reporting to jail in October 2018, McFarland apologized for his actions, opening up to PEOPLE in November 2018 about his regrets and hopes for the future.

"I am incredibly sorry for my collective actions and will right the wrongs I have delivered to my family, friends, partners, associates and, you, the general public," he said in an exclusive statement. "I've always sought — and dreamed — to accomplish incredible things by pushing the envelope to deliver for a common good, but I made many wrong and immature decisions along the way and I caused agony. As a result, I've lived every day in prison with pain, and I will continue to do so until I am able to make up for some of this harm through work and actions that society finds respectable."

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