Chris Andersen a victim of catfishing internet hoax

chris-andersen-internet-catfishing-hoax.jpgChris Andersen, now a forward for the NBA's Miami Heat, has been the victim of an internet hoax, commonly referred to as "catfishing," where a woman in Canada impersonated him while seeking a relationship with a young woman.

Andersen has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the case, which is being investigated by the Internet Crimes Against Children unit of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department in Colorado, his lawyer and prosecutors confirm to the Los Angeles Times.

According to Andersen's attorney Mark Bryant, a woman named Shelly Lynn Chartier tricked Andersen and a 17-year-old California woman into thinking they were communicating online with each other, which eventually led to the young woman visiting Andersen in Denver. He was playing for the Denver Nuggets at the time.

"That liaison was set up by the individual in Canada. [The young woman] came here and they spent time together and left," says Bryant. "What transpired after that we believe was a threat from the individual in Canada, presuming to be Chris Andersen to that individual. And that threat subsequently led to the warrants that were executed on Mr. Andersen's house -- although they had nothing to do with Chris."

The age of consent in Colorado is 17 years old.

Bryant says Chartier has been charged with possession and transmission of child pornography, extortion and uttering threats in Canada. The investigation has revealed she has duped other people in several different states.

The damage, however, has been done to Andersen's career and reputation. When the warrants were executed in May 2012, Andersen was "excused" from team-related activities and was later released by the team.

"I can't tell you how much Chris agonized about the label placed on him and some of the public's perception that resulted from these acts. Chris among all things is a member of our community and has a long, documented history of reaching out to children. He's done this through assisting with children's camps, local orphanages, literally [dressing up as] Santa Claus in our community," says Bryant.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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