U.S. Marshals auctioning merchandise from Fyre Festival fraud scheme

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GASTON & SHEEHAN

(CBS NEWS) – Those who didn’t attend the ill-fated Fyre Festival in person can still own a piece of paraphernalia from the music festival in the Bahamas that caused millions in losses for investors, ticket buyers and vendors.

Wristbands, baseball caps and other merchandise from the disastrous event, which landed its founder, Billy McFarland, in prison for defrauding investors and a ticket vendor, are now available for sale online through the U.S. Marshals’ auctioneer, Gaston & Sheehan. 

The offerings include 126 lots of “minor assets” from the fraudulent affair, including coins, T-shirts, sweatpants and sweatshirts. 

McFarland engaged in a scheme to defraud over 80 investors to put on his music festival, billed as a luxury event attended by Instagram-friendly top models Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, inflicting more than $26 million in losses. 

In reality, attendees arrived in the Bahamas where they were met with unfinished tents for shelter and cheese sandwiches for sustenance. 

Bidding on the Fyre Festival remnants opened Thursday and runs through Aug. 13, with proceeds going toward the victims of McFarland’s crimes, said U.S. Marshal Ralph Sozio of the Southern District of New York, in a news release. 

“This Fyre Festival-branded clothing and other items that were seized from Billy McFarland were originally intended to be sold at the Fyre Festival itself but were kept by McFarland, with the intent to sell the items and use the funds to commit further criminal acts while he was on pre-trial release,” Sozio said.

Victims must first demonstrate damages and be validated by the government in order to recoup funds from the auction, according to Michael Case, the asset forfeiture coordinator for the Southern District of New York.

“A lot of people raise their hands and say they are a victim but you have to show the damage that you’ve had,” he told CBS MoneyWatch in March, when the auction was first announced. 

Bidding for a Fyre baseball cap starts at $15. The start price of a festival wristband is $5. A hooded sweatshirt’s start price is $20.

A pricier lot, which starts at $65, includes three pairs of jogger sweatpants emblazoned with the Fyre logo. 

McFarland, 28, is currently in prison with a release date scheduled for 2023, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate locator.

In April, he asked for an early prison release, citing coronavirus concerns. His request was denied. 

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