Former 'Survivor' contestant Michael Skupin gets 1-4 years in prison for child porn

Michael Skupin was sentenced Tuesday after an Oakland County jury found him guilty of four counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials. 

Skupin, 54, who was a star on TV's "Survivor" in the year 2000, was sentenced to 1 to 4 years in prison. Skupin will have to register as a sex offender and is restricted from using a computer outside of work purposes. He also must pay restitution of $31,800.

The Michigan Attorney General's office began investigating Skupin, of Farmington Hills, after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter. Investigators 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 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. 

Skupin pleaded guilty in November to one count of larceny by conversion and agreed to pay $30,000 in restitution to his victims. 

"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," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said. "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."

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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.