CLARKSTON, Mich. (WJBK) - The arrest of Survivor star Mike Skupin made news around the world. This is a person who basked in his celebrity.
His fans were surprised when Rob Wolchek put him in the Hall of Shame for sketchy financial dealings - but even Wolchek was surprised when he was charged with not only conducting a criminal enterprise but also with child pornography.
Accused Ponzi schemer Michael Skupin walked into court for his first appearance before the media since his arrest two weeks ago for child pornography, racketeering and larceny by conversion.
Skupin stood before Judge Kelley Kostin in Clarkston court for a pre-exam conference. Skupin and his attorney Steve Lynch had a plan to make life easier for the ex-survivor star, but may have instead made it rougher - which will be explained in a minute.
Wolchek was the first to expose Skupin in 2013 for using his celebrity to lure investors into a program called "Pay it Forward.
Skupin denied it was a Ponzi scheme but the attorney general disagreed. While searching his computers for evidence of financial crimes, investigators say they found child sexually
A not guilty plea was entered at his arraignment. Skupin bonded out of jail last week after a $35,000 bond was paid. The international celebrity with a squeaky clean image released a statement to People Magazine:
"I have never, ever hurt a child," he wrote. "There are scores of people that have been wrongfully accused at some point in their life-including our savior."
Skupin’s image was tarnished when Wolchek first exposed his alleged scheme which included a record of massive tax liens, foreclosures and failure to pay his child support.
In court, Skupin, who is on a GPS tether, wanted to have his restrictions modified so he had more freedom. But Judge Kostin was having none of it.
"If you're asking me to amend that I’m going to amend that to home confinement," she said.
Skupin, who had been using his Facebook page to drum up support, now has had that privilege taken away.
"If he's getting on the internet it's going to be for a very specific purpose," Kostin said. "It's going to be a very narrow purpose.
"No computer use whatsoever for the internet."
As Wolchek expected, Mike Skupin sure didn't want to talk as he left court.
Wolchek: "So Mike, you want to answer any questions?"
"No comment at this time," his attorney said.
Wolchek: "So Mike in People Magazine ..."
"I said no comment," his attorney said.
Wolchek: "In People Magazine you said you would never hurt a child."
"I said no questions, what part of that don't you understand," his attorney said.
Wolchek: "I understand it but I can ask questions if I want. In People Magazine you said you'd never harm a child. Not paying child support, wouldn't that be harming your own child?"
"You're better off talking to the rock," his attorney said.
"Do you have anything to say Mr. Lynch," Wolchek added.
"Not today," he said.
Kostin said Skupin can't leave the house except for work, court, medical treatment and church.
Child Protective Services is also conducting an investigation and at this point he's not allowed to be around his kids.
He's been charged with 12 felonies, his next court appearance is April 8.