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The FBI search of YouTuber Jake Paul's California mansion is linked to his alleged involvement in a Arizona mall riot earlier this year, federal authorities have confirmed.
"The FBI is investigating allegations of criminal acts surrounding the incident at Scottsdale Fashion Square in May 2020. Yesterday, the FBI executed federal search warrants in California and Las Vegas, Nevada in connection with this investigation," an FBI spokesperson with the bureau's Phoenix office told Oxygen.com.
"The search warrant affidavits are sealed and we are, therefore, prohibited from commenting further."
Earlier this year, Paul, 23, was accused of looting at a Scottsdale mall amid protests in that city over the death of George Floyd, which has sparked nationwide demonstrations. Paul denied the charges and said no one in his group was engaged in "looting or vandalism."
The investigation has apparently gone from a local matter to a federal one. On Wednesday, the Scottsdale Police Department dismissed the charges in the case without prejudice in light of a "federal criminal investigation," according to a press release provided to Oxygen.com by the FBI in Los Angeles.
That same day, the FBI executed a warrant at the Las Vegas home of Armani Izadi, another YouTuber previously charged in the alleged Scottsdale mall riot, according to according to TMZ.
Paul's attorney Richard Schonfeld confirmed to Las Vegas outlet Fox 5 that “a search warrant was executed at Jake’s Calabasas home this morning while Jake was out-of-state. We are still gathering information and will cooperate with the investigation.”
Paul, 23, has seen his share of controversy in recent years.
A majority of criticisms about Paul center on his propensity for throwing wild parties in the Los Angeles area. The events have featured potentially dangerous stunts like lighting furniture on fire, KTLA reported in 2017.
In 2019, Paul was accused of hosting a party where a number of girls claimed they had been drugged and "blacked out."
Just a few weeks ago, Paul drew condemnation for hosting packed house party at his home in Calabasas and flouting guidelines about mask-wearing and social distancing implemented because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"I was very upset that somebody would hold such an outrageous gathering in our community," Calabasas Mayor Alicia Weintraub told KABC. "We're trying to do everything we can to get our numbers down and keep our community safe, and something like this just does the opposite."
Paul appeared unapologetic following the party.
"I don't know what to think of it, to be honest. I don't think anyone really does," Paul told Insider. "No one has answers, our leadership is failing us, and everyone kind of just doesn't know what to do. But I personally am not the type of person who's gonna sit around and not live my life."
Despite the complaints over the years, Paul has built a strong following on social media platforms like YouTube, alongside his brother Logan Paul — who faced his own high-profile controversy in 2018 when he uploaded a video to the platform featuring an apparent suicide victim in a Japanese forest, NPR reported.
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