Tag Archives: guilty

Fyre Festival organiser jailed for six years after pleading guilty to fraud over disastrous event

Fyre Festival organiser jailed for six years after pleading guilty to fraud over disastrous eventThe entrepreneur behind a luxury music festival in the Bahamas that collapsed in chaos in 2017 was sentenced to six years in prison by a US judge on Thursday after admitting fraud. Billy McFarland, 26, was the force behind the Fyre Festival, which billed itself as the ultimate upscale getaway amid a fast-growing market for music events. Hundreds of partygoers headed to the Bahamas, some paying more than $ 100,000 each, but instead found tents that wouldn't have looked out of place in relief camps and cuisine that was just rudimentary sandwiches. "Today, McFarland found out the hard way that empty promises don't lead to jet-setting, champagne and extravagant parties – they lead to federal prison," said US Attorney for Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman. The New Yorker admitted wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements in a two-pronged plea in March and July. Had he gone to trial and been convicted, he could have faced 20 years in prison. In addition to his jail time, he was ordered to forfeit $ 26 million. Prosecutors said McFarland repeatedly misrepresented himself to build his Fyre Media tech company and the ill-fated festival. Tents and mattresses being set up for the festival Credit: Jake Strang He falsified statements to show investors that his company earned millions of dollars from April 2016 and February 2017 through talent bookings, which in reality has grossed just $ 57,443, prosecutors said. The US Attorney's office said that at least 80 investors fell victim to his scheme, losing more than $ 24 million. McFarland also falsely boasted about Magnises, a credit card and private club geared at millennials, prosecutors said. He told investors that he sold Magnises for $ 40 million while in truth no sale had taken place, they said. In the first damages awarded, a judge in North Carolina earlier this year handed two fans each $ 1.5 million in compensation, plus $ 1 million each in punitive damages, far more than the minimum sought. Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson said that they shelled out $ 13,000 with a promise of exclusive accommodation on a private island but instead wound up in a relief camp-style tent and left when they felt unsafe. Numerous festival-goers posted pictures on social media of shambolic scenes, leading to online mockery of the high prices many had paid. The dinner that @fyrefestival promised us was catered by Steven Starr is literally bread, cheese, and salad with dressing. #fyrefestivalpic.twitter.com/I8d0UlSNbd— Tr3vor (@trev4president) April 28, 2017 The Fyre Festival was abruptly canceled and attendees evacuated, leading to online mockery of many of the young fans who had bought into the advertising of the event as a uniquely high-end music party. The government of the Bahamas, a country of more than 700 islands where tourism is the largest industry, apologized and assisted in evacuations – but stressed it was not involved directly in the event.



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Limo company operator in New York crash pleads not guilty, faces threats

Limo company operator in New York crash pleads not guilty, faces threatsThe operator of a limousine company that owned the vehicle involved in a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York has received threats since pleading not guilty to criminally negligent homicide, his lawyer told local news media on Thursday. Nauman Hussain, 28, was charged with one felony count related to the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in nearly a decade. Hussain was issued written violations by police and the state Department of Transportation that the driver he hired should not have been operating the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine involved in Saturday’s crash.



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The Latest: Lawyer says limo service operator isn't guilty

The Latest: Lawyer says limo service operator isn't guiltyALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Latest on the limousine crash in upstate New York that killed 20 people last weekend (all times local):



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Irish man pleads guilty in NY over Silk Road narcotics conspiracy

Irish man pleads guilty in NY over Silk Road narcotics conspiracyA 30-year-old Irish man pled guilty in New York on Friday to narcotics conspiracy over the now-defunct “dark web” marketplace Silk Road, just months after being extradited to the United States. US prosecutors say Gary Davis, who went by the alias “Libertas,” was a Silk Road administrator in 2013 — paid a weekly salary to carry out duties that included resolving disputes between drug dealers and buyers on the site. On Friday, he pled guilty in a Manhattan federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, after cutting a plea deal.



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Husband who claimed cold medicine made him stab his wife 123 times pleads guilty to her murder

Husband who claimed cold medicine made him stab his wife 123 times pleads guilty to her murderA North Carolina man who claimed a large dose of cold medicine caused him to



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Man pleads guilty in killing, will avoid death penalty

Man pleads guilty in killing, will avoid death penaltyRUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — Nearly two decades after he was charged in the abduction and killing of a Vermont supermarket worker, a man pleaded guilty Friday in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.



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Maddox Ritch: Dad of Missing 6-Year-Old Says He Feels Guilty After Disappearance

Maddox Ritch: Dad of Missing 6-Year-Old Says He Feels Guilty After DisappearanceHe also said he thought the boy would be found by now.



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Michael Cohen visits NY courthouse a month after guilty plea

Michael Cohen visits NY courthouse a month after guilty pleaNEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid an unannounced visit Friday to the federal courthouse in New York where he pleaded guilty a month ago.



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Immigrant accused of killing Iowa student pleads not guilty

Immigrant accused of killing Iowa student pleads not guiltyCristhian Bahena Rivera, a 24-year-old farm worker from Mexico accused of stabbing 20-year-old Tibbetts, appeared in a black-and-white striped jumpsuit at his arraignment in Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma, Iowa. “Mr. Rivera pleads not guilty,” his lawyer Chad Frese told the judge as Rivera listened through black headphones to a translator.



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Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort pleads guilty and agrees to co-operate with Russia probe to avoid second trial

Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort pleads guilty and agrees to co-operate with Russia probe to avoid second trial  Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed to “fully” cooperate with the Russian election meddling investigation in a plea deal to avoid a second criminal trial.  Manafort will have to conduct interviews and debriefings with the probe’s prosecutors, hand over documents and testify in future cases as part of the agreement, a judge said on Friday.  It means that a member of the Trump campaign’s inner circle has now agreed to tell Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the Russia investigation, what really happened behind closed doors during the presidential race.  Paul Manafort is a former campaign chairman for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid Credit: AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN Manafort pleaded guilty to two criminal charges – one for conspiracy against the United States and another for conspiracy to obstruct justice – but saw five other charges dropped as part of the deal.  It brings the total number of Trump aides who have pleaded guilty to crimes to five. The others are his former attorney Michael Cohen, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.  The White House attempted to put distance between Mr Trump and Manafort, whose crimes relate to his business dealings in Ukraine as a political consultant before he joined the campaign.  Profile | Paul Manafort Sarah Sanders, Mr Trump’s press secretary, said: "This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated." Manafort, who served as campaign chairman during the summer of 2016 and helped guide it through a turbulent Republican National Convention, has repeatedly refused to co-operate with the Mueller probe in the past.  But last month he was found guilty of eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud and failure to report a foreign bank account. He was expected to face a prison term of up to a decade.  Mr Trump praised him shortly after the convictions as being "brave" for not ‘flipping’ – agreeing to hand over information to prosecutors in turn for leniency.  There were reports that the US president had discussed using his executive powers to pardon Manafort in private with aides. In public he did not rule out such a move.  However with Manafort facing a second criminal trial – jury selection was due to take place on Monday – reports begun to surface that the former aide was considering a deal.  On Friday morning, Mr Mueller’s team filed a new document outlining two criminal charges, down from an original seven – the first solid indication a plea agreement was coming.  The first charge related to money laundering, tax fraud, foreign bank accounts, lobbying and making misrepresentations to the Justice Department. The second was linked to witness tampering.  Donald Trump, left, and Paul Manafort at the Republican National Convention in July 2016 Credit: REUTERS/Rick Wilking Appearing in court in Alexandria, Virginia – just across the river from Washington DC – Manafort pleaded guilty to the crimes.  Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that as part of the plea deal he would have to cooperate "fully and truthfully" with Mr Mueller's investigators.  It remains unclear exactly what information Manafort has that was deemed of value to the prosecutors. It is also unclear whether the information relates to Mr Trump or other campaign figures.  Kevin Downing, Manafort’s lawyer, said that his client cut a deal with prosecutors "to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life”. He added that Manafort has "accepted responsibility".  Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump's attorney, said: "The president did nothing wrong. Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign."          



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