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Tag Archive | "Michael Skupin"

Former Survivor contestant sentenced 


Michael Skupin

Michael Skupin

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that Michael Skupin, 54, of Farmington Hills, was sentenced to one to four years in prison by Oakland County 6th Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts following his conviction of four counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials in November.

Once out of prison, he will have to register as a sex offender on SORA and is restricted from using a computer outside of work purposes.

He was also sentenced to pay restitution of $31,800 and probation for his financial crimes, with the first payments going to restitution.

“Today’s sentencing is a strong message to those who prey on children: no matter who you are or what you do, we will find you,” said Schuette. “The act of downloading and viewing images of children in sexually abusive situations is reprehensible. This behavior re-victimizes the child victims over and over.”

Skupin, a former contestant on the television reality show Survivor, was charged by Schuette in February 2016 with the counts of financial crimes of Larceny by Conversion and Racketeering as well as Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Materials.

An investigation began into Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter. Michael Skupin recruited investors and friends to take part in his “gifting scheme” called Pay It Forward. Victims made 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.

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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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Clarification


 

Last week we ran article reporting that former Survivor contestant Michael Skupin had been arraigned on multiple felony charges, including possession of child pornography and racketeering. We also noted that the Michigan native had been here in Cedar Springs five years ago to give an inspirational presentation to youth and their parents at the En Gedi Youth Center. We included a photo showing him at En Gedi.

We referenced that appearance in the story because many would remember it, and used that photo because it was the one we had. Skupin is the contestant on Survivor that fell in the fire and burned his hands so badly that skin was peeling off. He said that doctors told him that the way his hands healed was a miracle. He attributed it to God.

The En Gedi board wants the public to know that no children were alone with Skupin at any time during  his presentation, and that they have had no contact with him since his appearance here five years ago. En Gedi was one of many Christ-centered organizations that Skupin spoke to.

In no way did the Post mean to infer that there was any kind of connection between Skupin and En Gedi beyond that appearance.

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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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