LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that Michael Skupin, 54, of Farmington Hills, was sentenced to 1-4 years in prison by Oakland County 6th Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts following his conviction of four counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials in November.
Once out of prison, he will have to register as a sex offender on SORA and is restricted from using a computer outside of work purposes.
He was also sentenced to pay restitution of $31,800 and probation for his financial crimes, with the first payments going to restitution.
“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,” said Schuette. “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.”
Skupin, a former contestant on the television reality show Survivor, was charged by Schuette in February 2016 with the counts of financial crimes of Larceny by Conversion and Racketeering as well as Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Materials.
An investigation began into Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter. Michael Skupin recruited investors and friends to take part in his “gifting scheme” called Pay It Forward. Victims made 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.