In a Monday news release, federal prosecutors announced that a YouTuber who deliberately destroyed his wreckage to increase video views in order to secure a sponsorship agreement was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison.
Trevor Jacob, 30 of Lompoc in California, , pleaded guilty this year on one count of destruction with intent to obstruct an investigation by the federal government.
Jacob, according to prosecutors, lied about the accident, which took place in November 2021. He also lied to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector.
Jacob, a YouTube subscriber with 143,000 followers, posted a 13 minute video in December 2021 titled “I Crashed My Airplane”. The video had 2.9 million views by the time it was taken private. Jacob recorded the video using multiple video cameras on various parts of his Taylorcraft BL65, along with a video camera. It was made private after it had been viewed 2.9 million times.
According to the release, he initially agreed to give the National Transportation Safety Board investigators the location of the crash and the videos, but later lied that he did not know the plane’s exact location. He then moved the wreckage by helicopter, before cutting it up and destroying the remains.
Jacob falsely stated in the aircraft accident report that he ejected from his plane when it lost power. He also told a FAA aviation inspector that he ditched because its engine quit and that there was no place for him to land safely.
In a sentencing memo , cited by the Justice Department, prosecutors stated that “it appears [Jacob] exhibited exceptionally poor judgement in committing this crime.” Jacob “most probably committed this offense in order to gain social media coverage and financial gain for himself.” This type of “daredevil” conduct is not tolerated.
The plea agreement states that Jacob intended to use his video to secure a sponsorship with a wallet-making company, but did not name the company. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Central California stated Monday that Jacob “intented to make money with the video.”
In a press release issued earlier this year by the U.S. Attorney’s Office , it was stated that the FAA had revoked Jacob’s pilot’s license in April 2022.
Dominique Caamano was the Assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted this case. She said that a stunt such as Jacob’s could cause much more harm.
Caamano, NBC News. “This is a very unique situation in which someone has crashed an aircraft for views. But the idea of stunts done for views or branded content are not new,” Caamano said. “The message is that if you do something illegal, there will be consequences.”
Jacob’s attorney provided a statement in which he said, “This experience has been so humbling.” Jacob thanked U.S. district judge John F. Walter and his “support network.”
He said, “I have learned more about myself in the last year than I did during my entire life prior to that.” “I’ve learned from my past mistakes and I look forward to becoming a member of the community and a mentor. “I am looking forward to continuing my positive growth during my six-month prison term.”