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Former 'Survivor' contestant Michael Skupin faces hearing for child porn, racketeering charges

CLARKSTON, Mich. – Michael Skupin has a preliminary exam scheduled for Friday morning in the 52-2 District Court in Clarkston. 

Skupin, a former contestant on the show "Survivor" and a Michigan native, is charged with six counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials, five counts of larceny by conversion, and one count of racketeering -- conducting a criminal enterprise -- for his role in allegedly running and promoting a Ponzi scheme. 

The 54-year-old was arraigned on the charges back in February. Attorney General Bill Schuette called the crimes "horrific."

"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 in a news release. "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."

'Pay It Forward' scheme

The attorney general's office said 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.

He is set to go before Judge Kelley Kostin at 10 a.m. Friday. 

Skupin first appeared on "Survivor" back in 2000. He was the first contestant to be medically evacuated from the show after he passed out and fell into a fire. He appeared on the show again in 2002. 


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