Fyre Festival founder’s fraud caused by “untreated mental illness,” lawyer says
According to his lawyer, "untreated mental illness" and "severe alcohol abuse" led Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland to defraud investors and commit other crimes. As Page Six reports, McFarland's lawyer Randall Jackson urged a Manhattan sentencing judge for leniency, citing a report diagnosing McFarland with "bipolar related disorder," which includes the traits of having "delusional beliefs of having special and unique talents that will lead to fame and fortune."
More from Page Six:
“The evidence suggests that Billy has a good heart that has been led astray by poor judgment and by untreated mental illness,” sentencing papers said.
The reps stressed that he is not a sociopath, however, citing the findings of a psychologist hired to evaluate him.
Buzzfeed also reports on two psychological reports of McFarland:
According to the psychiatrists' analysis, McFarland was experiencing "mania or hypomania," had trouble sleeping, was exhausted and overwrought, and thus "had a diminished capacity to foresee the consequences of his actions."
"The combination of ADHD and hypomania resulted in his pattern of undertaking on multiple projects accompanied by unrealistic appraisals of success," one part of the summary noted.
The reports, conducted in August, stated that McFarland was also "overwhelmed" by the daunting task of having to pay back the millions of dollars he ripped off from people he'd convinced to attend his music festival.
Along with his part in the Fyre Festival fiasco, over which he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud, McFarland also pleaded guilty to three more counts of fraud connected to a false ticketing scheme he is accused of running while out on bail awaiting sentencing for the Fyre charges. He faces over 10 years of jail time.