Friday, September 20, 2013

Miami Heat Forward Chris (Birdman) Anderson Victim Of Internet Hoax, Cleared In Child Pornography Probe

VIA: The tattoo-covered basketball player — whose team won the 2013 NBA Championship — will not be charged in the probe, which found a woman from Canada used his identity to commit crimes online. Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, of Easterville, Manitoba, faces multiple charges.

The Birdman is finally free.

Miami Heat forward Chris (Birdman) Andersen will not be charged in a child pornography investigation after authorities revealed the hoops star was the latest victim of a complex Internet hoax, his attorney said.

Andersen, 35 — whose team seized the 2013 NBA Championship — became the target of the probe last year, when a Canadian woman allegedly posed as the then-Denver Nuggets player in a bizarre double catfishing scheme, said the lawyer, Mark Bryant.
Authorities said 29-year-old Shelly Lynn Chartier, of Easterville, Manitoba, posed as Andersen to communicate with underage girls and also pretended to be other people to talk to the tattoo-covered basketball player.

“Chris was a victim,” said Bryant, who also revealed that at least a dozen others across several states fell victim to Chartier’s plot.

“Based on the information that we have been able to obtain and analyze, we are not pursuing charges against Chris Andersen,” said Lisa Pinto, a spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Pinto said the office is still reviewing a 4,000-page report from the “extremely complex” case before any more decisions are made by prosecutors. She said more details would be released in the near future.

Chartier was booked in January on a string of charges that include possession and transmitting child pornography, impersonation, extortion and making threats, said Sgt. Line Karpish, a spokeswoman with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She also faces possible charges in Colorado.

“We’re midstream in our investigation,” Karpish said. “We have laid charges, but we are not done.”

The probe began last year, when Douglas County Sheriff’s detectives from the department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit raided Andersen’s Colorado home.

Investigators were acting off a tip from a teenaged girl from California who apparently became upset when Andersen lost interest in keeping a relationship after the two had sex in his Larkspur home.

The teen contacted authorities after she received a threat from Chartier, posing as Andersen, that the basketball player would release obscene pictures of her that were taken when she was under 18.

But at the same time, Andersen — who had broken no laws in Colorado by having sex with the teen because she was over 17 years old — was sent a demand for money from the girl’s family.

Investigators later found the family’s demand for $5,000 — along with the threats sent to the teen — were written by Chartier using hacked accounts.

Andersen was never charged during the investigation, but he was eventually released by the Nuggets before he signed with the Miami Heat.

“We are not surprised that this is the end result,” the Heat said in a statement. “We are happy for Chris and glad this unfortunate incident is behind him.”

Bryant said the investigation tarnished Andersen’s image and prevented him from making any appearances for children’s charities until his name was cleared.

“It had an extraordinary effect upon Chris,” Bryant told the Denver Post. “To this day, Chris is so disturbed because some of the public opinion was just brutal.”

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