Last year, Colorado police raided the home of the Miami Heat's tatted-up center/power forward Chris "Birdman" Andersen to investigate alleged threats and transmission of child porn. Now he’s been cleared of any wrongdoing. He was instead the victim of an elaborate internet hoax, investigators determined.
USA Today reports that the investigation lasted more than a year.
According to Andersen's attorney, Birdman was tricked by a woman in Canada who was pursuing gifts and a relationship from the NBA forward. As part of this catfishing scheme, the Canadian woman also threatened a female acquaintance of Andersen's while impersonating him.
Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, of Manitoba, was charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with transmission of child pornography, extortion, and utter threats. Chartier may also face charges in Colorado.
This clearing of Andersen's name takes a big burden off his shoulders, said the player's attorney, who said "Chris was a victim."
At the time police raided his home, in May 2012, Andersen was playing for the Denver Nuggets, who dismissed him from all team activities during the 2012 playoff season before eventually severing his contract in the off season.
He was eventually taken on by the Miami Heat while the investigation was still underway. He went on to help the team win their second straight NBA championship.
"We are not surprised that this is the end result," the Heat said in an official statement. "We are happy for Chris and glad this unfortunate incident is behind him."
Anderson is of course not the first high-profile athlete to fall prey to a catfishing scheme. This sort of nefarious internet scamming breached the public consciousness earlier this year when Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman Trophy contender Manti Te'o was outed as the victim, then, later, the perpetrator, of a fake-girlfriend hoax.
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