Family photo / source unknown
A man has been sentenced to more than two and a half years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for defrauding SeaWorld for a drone show.
The U.S. Department of Transportation pursued the case against David J. Oneal, owner of Wildly Creative Marketing based in California, after he provided SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas with falsified documents. The fraudulent documents given to SeaWorld included pictures of false pilot information or two pilots he supposedly employed as well as certificates of registration from the FAA for small unmanned aircraft systems needed to perform the show.
The feds say SeaWorld made two payments to a bank account owned by Oneal after receiving the false documents but the drone show never took place. The DOT’s Office of Inspector General then conducted an investigation with the U.S. Secret Service. On September 2nd, 2020, Oneal was indicted by a grand jury for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft and on July 22nd, 2022, Oneal pleaded guilty.
He was convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas and must also pay $45,140 in restitution.
Oneal, a drone enthusiast, formerly hosted a show called “That Drone Show” and created International Drone Day. Websites for his company and the drone day event are no longer active.