In a press release announcing the charges after a two-year investigation, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette commented:
“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. 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 Oakland County 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.
Skupin will next appear in court for a pre-exam conference on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 9 am.
Skupin was under investigation by Scheutte's office for running a pyramid scheme based on "the airplane game", an unsustainable, exponential progression financial networking scam popular in the early 1990s.
An investigation began into Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted metro Detroit FOX 2 news reporter, Rob Wolchek.
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.
And what about that website, called "Pay It Forward" and still online?
In a YouTube video, Skupin invited people to invest in his scheme, which he explained as follows: "there are 15 squares on each chart.
You progress through these charts as other people like yourself enroll. When you get to the bottom of the chart or matrix, which takes as little as 16 people, you get into a position called the 'money spot'. In this post you collect the value that you came in with x8."
It looks like former reality putz Mike Skupin went from "Survivor" to "Reality Bites".