Look past the tattoos, the often sported mow-hawk and lots of bad life decisions and you have Chris Andersen, a very talented center who works in the NBA. Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen, who currently plays for the Miami Heat has had a hell of a ride . No, I’m not talking about his not making it to the NBA because he didn’t know he had to fill out an application for the NBA Draft. I’m not talking about his father that abandoned his family when he was four, nor his 2 year suspension from testing positive for drugs. In May 2012, Andersen’s life was turned upside down when he was accused of being a child molester. But, little did anyone, including the Birdman himself know, that he was actually part of an elaborate catfishing hoax.
In early 2010, a young woman named Roxanne had sent Chris Andersen mail with photos of her wearing little clothing. Andersen who at the time was living in Denver and playing for the Nuggets had conversations back and forth with this young woman who, at the time claimed that she was 21. After talking for a while, the woman flew up to Colorado and Chris and the Roxanne ultimately had sexual intercourse after he had verified her age using her own identification. Soon after that, the young women flew back to her home in California and Andersen didn’t give her any more of his time. Little did he know, that’s when everything would start to crumble.
While this was all taking place, little did Chris know that he was a victim of cyber crime and identity theft from a different woman in Canada. The thief, who would later be identified as Shelly Lynne Chartier from Manitoba, Canada took hold of Chris’ personal records, passwords and even his gaming system account. She was also the icing on the cake that led to the 2012 accusation and ultimately him being let go from the Denver Nuggets.
Shelly ‘The Catfish’ Chartier
Shelly Lynn Chartier was an outcast. She grew up and currently resides in Easterville, Manitoba where she dropped out of middle school because the bullying from her peers was so excessive. At home, Shelly took care of her mother, who had been bedridden for almost 30 years because of chronic arthritis. The last time anyone had seen Shelly go outside was when she was about 12 years old.
In her latter 20’s, Shelly had begun impersonating people online which eventually led to her stealing their identities. While doing this, she came across Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen.
Shelly was able to create fake accounts and infiltrate Chris Andersen and a lot of his personal information right before he started having conversations with Roxanne from California. Shelly ended up creating two accounts. One impersonating Chris Andersen and the other of Roxanne, who he was to meet up with in Colorado later on that year. Ms. Chartier would go back and forth between Andersen’s and Roxanne’s real accounts, using her fake accounts in order to have discussions with them. At one point after the sexual encounter, Shelly Lynn Chartier became more aggressive with Roxanne.
Shelly acted like Roxanne’s mom and told Chris that she was only 13 and then threatened to go the police unless Chris paid off her $5,000 wish-list on Amazon, even including bedding and a Victoria’s Secret collection. Scared, Chris agreed and paid off the bribe. At the same time, Shelly Lynn was messaging the young girl with a fake Chris Andersen account pushing for pictures of the 17 year old girl and harassing her. This pushed the young girl to contact the authorities and file a report.
Soon after that, the Denver Sheriff’s office and Internet Crimes Against Children Unit (ICAC), pulled search warrants, were questioning Chris Andersen, and news of him being having sexual relations with an underage girl (17 is the age of consent in CO.) was all over the place. At that point in time, everyone knew that Chris was going to jail for a long time.
At that point in time, everyone knew that Chris was going to jail for a long time.
This is when things started to go downhill fast for Andersen. The Denver Nuggets cut him (you can’t blame them) and he was now unemployed because no team was willing to take on a soon to be sex offender. Hiding out from everyone including family, Chris now had to lawyer up to fight the allegations. Through all of this, Chris still stood by his innocence.
Meanwhile, the Denver Sheriff’s department and the ICAC where combing through over 4,000 records that they had confiscated. On the surface, the case seemed like a slam dunk. Shawn Cronce, who was heading the investigation for the ICAC had messages from Chris to Roxanne and thought it would be easy since that’s really all that was needed. But, they were to find out really quickly that wasn’t the case.
With the initial investigation, Shawn Cronce’s first step was to trace the ip addresses of where the conversations took place and match the locations of where each person was during that same time frame. Cronce soon uncovered something that she wasn’t expecting. The ip addresses all linked to from north of the U.S., beyond her territory. Soon after that, Cronce contacted Constable Gordan Olsen who was head of Winnepeg’s Child Exploitation Unit for help in the case.
After months of combing through data, Facebook messages and ip addresses, what Olsen and Cronce found was astonishing. Chartier had used Facebook’s new celebrity verification to give the con a real look and make her seem like she was actually Chris “Birdman” Andersen. If they would have done an reverse image search, they would have seen the images were taken from his actual Facebook account.
She spent all day everyday committed to making this scam work. All of the messages were going through Chartiers fake Facebook accounts. She was responding for Roxanne to Chris and to Chris from Roxanne but, neither of them knew this. The entire time, they thought they were talking to each others real accounts. And in doing this, Chartiers often manipulated the messages to and from each of them. They were her puppets.
When Roxanne flew back to California and her and Chris stopped their communication, Shelly got upset and probably scared that she was losing her puppets and that’s when the blackmail started. Shelly, acting like Roxanne’s upset mother, bribed him to pay for an Amazon account wish-list and other goods while at the same time pretending to be Chris Andersen and threatening Roxanne.
The End of the Puppet Master
On January 15th 2013, Shelly Lynn Chartiers was arrested by the Winnepeg Child Exploitation Unit for possession of child pornography, personation, extortion, transmission of child pornography and utter threats.
For the first time in eight months, Chris Andersen was a free man. He had been signed to a 10 day contract to the Miami Heat was signed to another 10 days after that and had played in a total of 6 games with Heat re-signed mid 2013 to a one year, $1.7 Million dollar contract.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Shelly Lynn Chartier was re-arrested Dec. 16th 2013 on 13 new charges. She pleaded not guilty and is now believed to have more than a dozen victims including B-list actors, Brody Jenner and even a Playboy Playmate. Colorado has filed, and is looking to have Chartier tried in Colorado once her trial is finished in Canada. The Mounted Police say that her trial won’t be scheduled until at least 2015 and part of her bail included not being able to have the internet. Go figure.
Update: Shelly Chartier has plead guilty to 7 accounts of fraud for crimes committed between Feb. 2011 to August 2013.