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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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