Orange County twin YouTube stars facing possible prison time over phony bank robbery

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Twin brothers from Irvine who have gained millions of followers on YouTube by making prank videos could end up in prison.

Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, were charged with false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud or deceit, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office. They were also charged with a misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.

During one of their recorded pranks last October, the twins dressed in black clothing and ski masks, carrying duffle bags full of cash, and pretended to have robbed a bank, prosecutors said.

"They ordered an Uber and when they got in the vehicle the Uber driver, who was unaware of the prank, refused to drive them," according to the press statement. "A bystander witnessed this, believing the two men had just robbed a bank and were attempting to carjack the Uber driver."

Irvine police who responded to the scene held the driver at gunpoint but eventually determined he wasn't involved and the incident was a hoax. The brothers were not arrested and instead were given a warning, but staged a similar scenario four hours later at the University of California, Irvine, according to prosecutors.

"These were not pranks," county District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the statement. "These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed."

He called the videos "some kind of twisted attempt to gain more popularity on the internet by unnecessarily putting members of the public and police officers in danger."

If convicted, the twins could each face up to four years in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.