A pilot will plead guilty to lying about deliberately crashing his plane in California to gain views online, according to the Department of Justice.
Prosecutors say Trevor Jacob, who is reportedly an experienced pilot and skydiver, had secured a sponsorship deal that sold various products, including a wallet. Jacob reportedly agreed to promote the wallet in a video where he crashed his plane.
The DOJ says Jacob took off in his plane from the Lompoc City Airport on Nov. 21, 2021, and jumped out, with nobody at the controls, above the Los Padres National Forest.
Jacob parachuted to the ground as the plane crashed, according to the DOJ. Prosecutors say Jacob then hiked to the wreckage and retrieved data that documented the crash for his YouTube video.
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The DOJ says Jacob informed federal aviation officials about the crash three days later. He was reportedly told that he was responsible for preserving the wreckage so the National Transportation Safety Board could examine it. However, the DOJ said he lied to investigators about knowing where the plane crashed.
Investigators learned Jacob and a friend flew to the wreckage site in December by helicopter and used straps to secure the wreckage, which he eventually loaded onto a trailer attached to his truck.
"He then cut up and destroyed the airplane wreckage and, over the course of a few days, deposited the detached parts of the wrecked airplane into trash bins," the DOJ stated.
During the investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration revoked Jacob's pilot's license.
In addition to losing his license, the DOJ says Jacob faces up to 20 years in a federal prison.
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