Lawyer: Mental Illness Led to Fyre Festival Promoter's Crime - NBC Bay Area
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Lawyer: Mental Illness Led to Fyre Festival Promoter's Crime

He earned tabloid headlines after fraudulently enlisting 80 investors to pour $26 million into a festival

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    Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges, in this March 6, 2018, file photo, in New York.

    A lawyer says mental illness caused the promoter of a failed music festival to rip off investors and commit other crimes.

    Attorney Randall Jackson urged a Manhattan judge Friday to be lenient at Billy McFarland's October sentencing.

    McFarland pleaded guilty earlier this year to defrauding investors in the 2017 Fyre Festival in the Bahamas and cheating customers in a ticket scam. Without leniency, he faces over a decade in prison.

    Jackson cited a psychological report saying McFarland has Bipolar Related Disorder and may sometimes have "delusional beliefs of having special and unique talents that will lead to fame and fortune."

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    McFarland earned tabloid headlines after fraudulently enlisting 80 investors to pour $26 million into a festival promoted as an ultra-luxurious event on the Bahamian island of Exuma over two weekends in April and May 2017.

    Customers hoping to see Blink-182 and the hip hop act Migos arrived to learn music acts were canceled. Their upscale accommodations and gourmet food consisted of white tents and cheese sandwiches.

    McFarland admitted using fake documents to trick investors in the festival, which ultimately was canceled.