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Tag Archive | "child porn"

Man pleads in child porn case


 

A former Cedar Springs man recently pleaded no contest to two counts of child pornography in Kent County’s 17th Circuit Court.

According to Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker and Circuit court records, Brian James Zimmer, 41, pled no contest on November 27 to one count of child sexually abusive commercial activity and one count of using a computer to commit a crime, as part of a plea deal. Two other charges were then dropped. 

According to court records, a Homeland Security Investigations special agent acting in an undercover capacity downloaded a child porn video on October 17, 2016, from someone that was later identified as Brian James Zimmer, of Cedar Springs. On February 7, a search warrant was executed at his then residence on Becker CT NE. Computers there were seized and examined, and 433 images of child pornography were discovered. Zimmer then confessed to agents in an interview on February 7.

Zimmer was then arrested in April, and released on bond. He has since moved to Twin Lakes.

The prosecutor’s office recommended a guideline range of 21-35 months minimum sentence to be served concurrently on both counts. Zimmer is scheduled to be sentenced on January 29 at 2 p.m.

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Former Survivor contestant found guilty of child porn charges


 

Michael Skupin

Michael Skupin

Michael Skupin also pled guilty to a larceny charge

An Oakland County jury convicted Michael Skupin, 54, of Farmington Hills, of four counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials in front of Oakland County 6th Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts last Friday, November 18.

“The children in these videos and images were exploited, and each time the images were shared and viewed continued their suffering,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “My hope is that today’s conviction will bring some closure to the families and the children that are victims in this case.”

Skupin, a former contestant on the television reality show Survivor, was charged by Schuette in February 2016 with both the counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials and financial crimes of larceny by conversion and racketeering. He pled guilty to one count of Larceny by Conversion on Monday, November 21, and agreed to pay $30,000 in restitution to his victims. He entered his plea in front of Oakland County 6th Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts.

Each charge could bring up to four years in prison. Sentencing will be held on December 27, 2016 at 8:30 am.

Case Background

An investigation began into Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter. It is alleged that Michael Skupin recruited investors and friends to take part in his “gifting scheme” called Pay It Forward. Victims allegedly made $10,000 cash investments in the scheme. Their money would then cycle through a chart in which participants were eventually paid out of other new investors’ money. The scheme was discovered when eventually there were no new investors signing up and most people in the scheme lost all of their money.

Skupin’s laptop was searched in conjunction with the Ponzi scheme investigation. During the search, investigators discovered images of underage children in sexual situations. The images are alleged to belong to Skupin.

Skupin was on two seasons of Survivor—Survivor: Australian Outback (2001), and Survivor: Phillipines (2012). Many remember him as the man who passed out and fell into the fire on live TV and was medivaced by helicopter to a hospital in Australia.

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Former Survivor contestant arraigned on felony charges


Michael Skupin is shown here with En Gedi after his talk five years ago.

Michael Skupin is shown here with En Gedi after his talk five years ago.

Michael Skupin charged with possession of child pornography, racketeering

Five years ago this week, former Survivor contestant Michael Skupin was a guest speaker at Cedar Springs’ En Gedi Youth Center, where he shared his inspirational story with 120 kids and parents. Many remember him as the man who passed out and fell into the fire on live TV and was medivaced by helicopter to a hospital in Australia.

Earlier this week, Skupin was arraigned on a dozen felony charges. Michigan State Attorney General Schuette charged Skupin, 54, of Oakland County, with six counts of possession of Child Sexually Abusive Materials (a four-year felony), five counts of Larceny by Conversion (a five-year felony), and one count of Racketeering-Conducting a Criminal Enterprise (a 20-year felony) for his role in allegedly running and promoting a Ponzi scheme.

Not only did this man rob people of their hard earned savings with his financial scams but he victimized innocent children every time he looked at a piece of child pornography,” said Schuette. “This man seems to have no concept or caring for right and wrong and will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law for these horrific crimes.”

An investigation began into Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter. It is alleged that Michael Skupin recruited investors and friends to take part in his “gifting scheme” called Pay It Forward. Victims allegedly made $10,000 cash investments in the scheme. Their money would then cycle through a chart in which participants were eventually paid out of other new investors’ money. The scheme was discovered when eventually there were no new investors signing and most people in the scheme lost all of their money.

Skupin’s laptop was searched in conjunction with the Ponzi scheme investigation. During the search, investigators discovered images of underage children in sexual situations. The images are alleged to belong to Skupin.

Skupin was arraigned Friday, February 5, 2016 in 52-2 District Court in Clarkston before Magistrate Daniel Schuman. Bond was set at $350,000. If bond is met, Skupin must wear a GPS tether, cannot have any unsupervised visits with children or leave the state. Skupin will next appear in court for a pre-exam conference on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 9 a.m.

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