Former ‘Survivor’ star arrested for child porn

The Detroit News

Former “Survivor” contestant Michael Skupin was arraigned Friday on 12 felony charges of child pornography, larceny and racketeering on claims he helped run a Ponzi scheme, Michigan officials announced Friday.

Skupin, 54, of Farmington Hills is accused of using a “gifting scheme” called Pay It Forward to defraud investors, said Attorney General Bill Schuette.

“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,” Schuette said in a prepared statement. “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.”

Authorities allege that Skupin’s victims made $10,000 investments, and the money was cycled through a chart in which participants were paid out of other investors’ money.

When there were no new investors, most people lost all their money, Schuette said. During the investigation, Skupin’s laptop was searched and photos of underaged children in sexual situations were discovered, Schuette said.

The allegations first aired on Fox2 Detroit in 2013.

Skupin was arraigned in 52-2 District Court in Clarkston on six counts of possessing child pornography, a four-year felony; five counts of larceny by conversion, a five-year felony, and one count of racketeering, a 20-year felony. Bond was set at $350,000. He faces a pre-exam conference Feb. 19.

Skupin was on two seasons of the reality show, “Survivor: The Australian Outback” and “Survivor: Philippines.” During the Australian show, he fell into a fire and had to be airlifted to receive medical attention.