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AG Schuette Charges Former Survivor Contestant with Possession of Child Pornography and Racketeering

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General today charged Michael Skupin, 54, of Oakland County, 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.

“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.”

Skupin was arraigned Friday, February 5, 2016 in 52-2 District Court in Clarkston before Magistrate Daniel Schuman on the following twelve felony charges:

Six counts of Possession of Child Sexual Abusive Materials, a 4 year felony.
Five counts of Larceny by Conversion, a 5 year felony; and,
1 count of Racketeering- Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20 year felony.

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 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 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.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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