Celebrities and high profile sport’s figures seem to have it all- money, fame, attractive significant others or their pick of the litter. However, being catfished is like the common cold, it can spread through all lifestyles, genders, and social or economic demographics. No one is immune.
Miami Heat’s key player, Chris “Birdman” Andersen, age 35, was the victim of a hoax that threatened to ruin his life, sport’s career, and lead to jail time, had the truth not come to light. If Andersen seems like a bad boy with his heavy tattooing and past drugs ban, he managed to be cleared of making threats, possession and transmitting of child pornography, impersonation, and extortion. The real culprit was Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, from Canada.
Andersen’s troubles began without him realizing it. Last year he began chatting with a 17 year old woman and aspiring model, Paris Roxanne, whom he met online. She presented herself as age 21 and traveled to meet him in Colorado, for consensual sex. Thankfully for Andersen, despite Roxanne’s fib about her age, the age of consent in Colorado is 17. The ongoing problem was that from the start, Shelly Lynn Chartier, a reclusive Canadian woman who spent most of her time indoors, had catfished herself as a middleman between any communication that Andersen and Roxanne had. Her method of doing so allowed her to receive, edit, and change any messages before they reached either party, by capitalizing on Facebook’s past policy of not verifying celebrity accounts. When Andersen was not interested in pursuing a relationship with Roxanne, Chartier became annoyed and began to seek revenge and payment, a process which was part of her typical catfish behavior.
First, she pretended to be Roxanne’s mother and wrote a threatening message about her “daughter’s” age and the items she wanted purchased in her online wish list. Fearing the ramifications of a PR emergency due to Roxanne’s young age and photographs sent, Andersen initially complied. Meanwhile, Roxanne was receiving nasty messages from Chartier, still posing as Andersen! She eventually went to the police, thinking Andersen was threatening to expose naked photos of her to the world, threatening her with harm, and demanding she perform demeaning sexual acts.
Thus began a long web of lies coming to light, as investigated by Cronce and Olson, head of Winnepeg’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit. The two investigators eventually cracked the code of what had occurred by following up on each I.P. address Andersen and Roxanne would have used when communicating, which brought the elephant in the room to light and eventually led to exposing and subsequently arresting Chartier.
During the investigation, Chris Andersen was turned down by many teams until a 2012 ‘break’ by Miami Heat president, Pat Riley. Given this chance, even while down on his luck, Andersen managed to become a champion and have one of his best seasons ever- playing six straight games without missing a shot, along with setting an NBA playoff record for his percentage of field goals.
Proving that even when a Catfish is caught, their net leaves a mark, Andersen’s lawyer spoke to Newsweek and said that the ordeal has impacted Andersen. “He’s become a recluse.” his lawyer explained, and after the threat of being falsely labeled a child pornographer, he has avoided children’s homes and hospitals for appearances and volunteerism.