According to Nev Schulman from “Catfish – The TV Show” on MTV and his appearance on “Dateline” ABC, the tale you are about to hear is one of most “complicated and confusing catfish stories” ever. That means a lot coming from someone who helps catch catfish for a living!
Indeed, the mystery behind Chris Anderson’s catfish story involving model Paris Dunn is a roller coaster of intrigue. Its destructive path leaves nothing off limits. Ready to hear the terrible side of catfishing and how both stars ended up in a web of vicious threats, criminal warrants, and part of an international investigation? Read along for the shocking details!
First, What Is a Catfish?
A catfish uses (fake) internet profiles to connect with people online. A catfish usually pretends to be someone else for personal, financial, or romantic gain. A catfish may strike up friendships, romantic relationships, and send images of someone else, to trick their victim into trusting or dating them.
Some catfish are merely lonely and insecure, while others get joy out of deceiving others. In the worst cases, a catfish has a goal of scamming their victims out of money, as part of a crime called “romance scam”.
Surprisingly enough, when catfish do not solicit funds or become threatening, their actions are usually not illegal. People can pretend to be anyone they want online, though some fabricated identities may violate some sites’ terms of service (TOS).
The Shocking Chris Anderson Catfish Scandal
Chris Anderson was known as a heavily tattooed athlete on the Denver Nuggets, who had a great personality. Before the catfishing story he was involved in, he couldn’t imagine that a peaceful drive, hours before a game, would end up with him being pulled over by the police and his life almost ruined. When he first heard the police sirens, he assumed he was being pulled over for speeding.
To his shock, the officers told him that the ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) unit had a search warrant and was headed to his residence. When he called his attorney, he was told to ignore the chaos and focus on the night’s playoff game for the NBA, but the team stopped him from playing. At his home, reporters and police were everywhere, and he arrived at insults and slurs such as “molester” and “creep”.
Anderson or “Birdman” as he was known, had grown up in Iola, Texas, and always felt lucky to have made it away from the town and into the NBA. Many of his peers worked in the oil fields or ended up in jail, and jail wasn’t a place he wanted to be. Still, once his home was searched, he began to wonder if he would also go to prison as a convicted child predator even though Chris knew he was innocent of the accusations.
After all, it wasn’t his first brush with trouble. In 2006, when he was at the top of a promising career and had signed a deal with the New Orleans Hornets, he was kicked out of the league for drug use. This resulted in a mandatory 2-year ban. It was one of the few times a significant player was removed from the NBA for hardcore drugs, but he’d survived the bad press and managed to get reinstated in the league once the ban was over.
The catfishing trouble began in 2012 when model Paris Dunn (now known as Paris Roxanne) of Southern California was starting to amass Instagram followers. She was 17 and although she dates a famous musician, Don McLean who is in his 70’s, in 2012, she was starting as a model and social media influencer. Although Paris was 17, she knew that it would help her career to target athletes and celebrities on social media.
She followed this trend with Anderson and sent him a simple message asking how he was doing. When he replied, they began to talk, and the interest between the two became clear. She was star struck, and he was also interested in her, thinking she was 21 years old. Their connection became steady enough that he wanted to fly her out to his Denver home.
While she was there, they both noticed some inconsistencies. First, Anderson said he was talking to her sister who was playing an Xbox game. Then, Dunn claimed to be talking to Anderson’s best friend who he knew nothing about. They also discovered that other conversations each remembered didn’t match up.
However, after their weekend, the relationship slowly lessened in intensity, so neither thought much about it. Back home in California, Dunn received tickets to an LA Clippers game where she was excited to meet Blake Griffin and told Anderson and his friend by text, and both seemed angry.
So angry that Anderson’s supposed best friend threatened her. He said he was going to expose any nude photos she’d sent Anderson and have her murdered. Scared, Dunn confessed everything to her mother as she needed help.
At the same time, Anderson began receiving messages, supposedly from Dunn and her mother – that she knew her underage daughter had traveled to his home and he’d be considered a child pornographer for receiving photos she had sent him unless he sent them money via PayPal.
However, in reality, Dunn and her mother were involved with the police. The head of ICAC had raided Anderson’s house and noticed something odd about the messages being sent between Anderson and Dunn. The communication was being intercepted from home in Manitoba, Northern Canada. As this was out of the ICAC’s jurisdiction, they enlisted the help of Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (similar to the United State’s F.B.I.).
And Who Did They Discover Was Behind It All?
Shelly Chartier, a hermit, living in poor conditions, where she had only a 6th-grade education as she had to care for her bedridden mother. She had been housebound for 11 years, and her lack of care had led to rotting teeth. Unhappy, she began to act out online. Her plots were increasingly complicated as she impersonated both Dunn and Anderson.
Here Is How It Worked:
Although model Paris Dunn had been told by Anderson that he didn’t know anyone called Tom Taylor when she visited, Paris continued to trust this man until he threatened her. The man she was trusting was a fake character Chartier had created. So, each time Paris spoke to Chris, Paris was talking to a phony profile for Chris Anderson, run by Chartier.
Since Chartier wanted Dunn and Anderson to meet, she created a fake profile for Dunn and used that to communicate with Anderson. She then arranged text conversations through her phone and created the phony character of Tom Taylor (who she called Anderson’s best friend) in case she needed to threaten Dunn later or gain influence.
While police investigated, both Dunn and Anderson were unaware and Anderson particularly terrified of his future. Anderson was brought onto the Miami Heat, after their internal investigation, when he finally heard he had been vindicated by police. To avoid focus being off the team, he kept the news to himself until the time was right.
Chartier was sentenced to jail for one year, along with two years probation. She learned more human interaction (such as eye contact) and once she was free, met her husband via the use of an Xbox. He lives in New York, but Shelly cannot visit him. He does visit her sometimes, but if she travels to the United States, there is an outstanding warrant for her in Colorado.
Dunn continued her online modeling and web influence, and Anderson regained his reputation and career in the NBA. However, the crimes Chartier inflicted against both parties, should terrify anyone who is in love with or dating someone they’ve only met online!
Are you worried if you’re talking to the love of your life online or a potential catfish? Be sure to protect yourself and don’t fall for the same cons Dunn and Anderson did.
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