There’s no shortage of YouTubers and TikTokers accused of lying and exaggerating content for clicks and views.
But one YouTuber is now entering a plea deal with the U.S. Department of Justice for taking his need for views to the next level — by deliberately crashing an airplane for clout.
Trevor Daniel Jacob is pleading guilty to felony charges for “one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation” after the DOJ found that he lied to investigators about not knowing where the plane wreckage was and intentionally destroyed the remnants of the aircraft before disposing of the pieces in various locations.
Jacob uploaded a video to YouTube called “I Crashed My Airplane” on December 24, 2021, and admitted he made the content to make money. The clip has garnered over 3.23 million views.
The video depicts a flight that Jacob (a skilled pilot and skydiver) took on November 24, 2021, which shows him parachuting out of an airplane and the plane pummeling to the ground right after.
The DOJ said Jacob left Lompoc City Airport in Santa Barbara, California, but had no intention of landing the plane. The agency noted that Jacob “mounted several video cameras on different parts of the airplane and equipped himself with a parachute, video camera, and selfie stick.”
The plane crashed in Los Padres National Forest, and Jacob lied to investigators for weeks about not knowing where it was after the National Transportation Safety Board told him he was responsible for finding and preserving the wreckage, the DOJ said.
According to the plea agreement, Jacob later circled the wreckage area in a helicopter and landed nearby, where he used the aircraft to pick up the pieces of the wreckage before bringing them to a trailer attached to the back of his truck.
From there, the pieces were brought to an empty hangar, where Jacob began to destroy and dispose of the parts.
“Jacob further admitted he lied to federal investigators when he submitted an aircraft accident incident report that falsely indicated that the aircraft experienced a full loss of power approximately 35 minutes after takeoff,” the document states. “Jacob also lied to an FAA aviation safety inspector when he said the airplane’s engine had quit and, because he could not identify any safe landing options, he had parachuted out of the plane.”
Jacob’s pilot’s license was revoked by the Federal Aviation Agency in April 2022.
He is facing up to 20 years in prison. Jacob currently has over 138,000 subscribers on YouTube.