Former 'Survivor' contestant Michael Skupin found guilty of possessing child porn

Former 'Survivor' contestant, Michigan native found guilty

DETROIT – Former "Survivor" contestant and Michigan native Michael Skupin has been found guilty on four counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials, according to officials.

Skupin was charged with six counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials, five counts of larceny by conversion and one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, or racketeering, for his role in allegedly running and promoting a Ponzi scheme.

"The children in these videos and images were exploited, and each time the images were shared and viewed continued their suffering," said 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."

Each charge could bring up to four years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 27.

"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 Michigan Attorney General Bill 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."

Case background from attorney general's office

An investigation into Skupin began 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 on 'Survivor'

Skupin was a contestant on season two of "Survivor" in 2000. The season took place in the Australian outback. He is remembered for an animal cruelty scandal in which he hunted down a wild pig and he was the first contestant to be medically evacuated after he passed out and fell into a fire.

He appeared on the show again in 2012.

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