Terpening gets more prison time for jailhouse scam

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PONTIAC, Mich. (WOOD) — A Barry County man incarcerated for sexually assaulting teens will serve at least five more years for a scam he helped run from prison.

Tuesday, an Oakland County judge sentenced Michael Terpening to between five and 30 years in prison. Terpening was already serving 10 to 15 years in prison for criminal sexual conduct.

Terpening’s partner in the scam, Steven Wilcox, was also scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, but his sentencing information was not immediately available.

Authorities say Wilcox was trying to collect on a lawsuit he won against an attorney who later died. His argument was that because the lawyer owed him money, he could collect from people in debt to the attorney. But he and Terpening targeted people who had no connection to the attorney, like a New Jersey man who won a $335 million Powerball Jackpot, Wilcox’s old prison pen pal and two bloggers who were critical of Terpening during his sexual assault trial.

In March, the pair pleaded no contest to three counts of larceny by conversion in connection to the scam.

Terpening was originally sent to prison for sexually assaulting some of the teens who attended the home for troubled youths he ran in Barry County. According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Wilcox was imprisoned for first-degree home invasion and kidnapping out of Oakland County.

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