Former Survivor contestant Michael Skupin is facing 11 criminal charges, including possession of child pornography and racketeering, the Michigan Attorney General’s office announced Friday.
An investigation into Skupin began after people who say they were victims of an alleged Ponzi scheme he ran contacted a local newspaper. The alleged victims say they made $10,000 investments to a gifting scheme called Pay It Forward, in which their donations cycled through a chart of investors, until they were paid by new investors’ money. The alleged scheme was discovered when the investors say they lost all of their money after no new people were brought into the group.
During law enforcement’s investigation into Skupin, they say they discovered child pornography on his computer. The former Survivor contestant, 54, was held on $350,000 bond.
“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,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a 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.”
Skupin, who is the father of seven children, appeared on Survivor: The Australian Outback, where he became the first person to be medically evacuated from the reality show after he fell into a fire. He also competed in Survivor: Philippines.