Trevor Jacob, an American YouTube content maker, has admitted to purposefully crashing his plane in order to increase views on his page.
The 29-year-old former Olympic snowboarder videotaped himself flying out of his single-propeller plane above the Los Padres National Forest in November 2021.
Trevor had suggested that it was an accident. As of May 12, 2023, the video had approximately 3 million views on YouTube.
However, the Justice Department announced on Thursday that Jacob had pleaded guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to hinder a federal investigation.
The crime, it is believed, carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
On Wednesday, a plea agreement and one-count information charging Jacob were filed in the Los Angeles district court.
Jacob confessed to the authorities that he wanted to make money from the video of the crash.
According to his plea agreement, “Jacob is an experienced pilot and skydiver who had secured sponsorship from a company that sold various products, including a wallet. Pursuant to the sponsorship deal, Jacob agreed to promote the company’s wallet in a YouTube video that he would post.”
The justice department quoted him as admitting that he falsified an accident report he filed after the crash and lied to investigators.
“On November 24, 2021, Jacob took off in his airplane from Lompoc City Airport on a solo flight purportedly destined for Mammoth Lakes. Jacob did not intend to reach his destination, but instead planned to eject from his aircraft during the flight and video himself parachuting to the ground and his airplane as it descended and crashed,” he admitted in the plea agreement.
He initially told investigators that his plane lost power and that he did not know where the wreck was.
“In the weeks following the plane crash, Jacob lied to investigators that he did not know the wreckage’s location,” according to the plea agreement.
“In fact, on December 10, 2021, Jacob and a friend flew by helicopter to the wreckage site. There, Jacob used straps to secure the wreckage, which the helicopter lifted and carried to Rancho Sisquoc in Santa Barbara County, where it was loaded onto a trailer attached to Jacob’s pickup truck.”
Meanwhile, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched its own investigation into the plane crash and also revoked Jacob’s pilot license.
The Youtuber is expected to make his initial court appearance in the coming weeks.