Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Woman to fight charges in bizarre extortion scam

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POLICE and justice officials on both sides of the border continue to comb through a massive amount of evidence connected to a bizarre, Manitoba-based online extortion scam.

And the local woman at the centre of the high-profile case is planning to fight the charges she is currently facing.

Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, will plead not guilty to allegations she masterminded the elaborate plot that targeted numerous victims, including a popular American athlete, said her lawyer.

Her case appeared in court last week in The Pas and has been adjourned until Jan. 15. No trial dates have been set.

Chartier was arrested earlier this year on several charges, including possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, extortion, personation and uttering threats. Manitoba and Colorado police first began investigating her in early 2012.

Chartier is free on stringent bail conditions and is living in Easterville, a small community about 500 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

There are believed to be more than a dozen victims across at least seven U.S. states, the most famous being Chris "Birdman" Andersen, who recently captured an NBA championship with the Miami Heat. Andersen, 35, was living in Colorado, playing for the Denver Nuggets, when the scheme to target him allegedly began in 2010.

Investigators say a woman unknown to Andersen set up a Facebook profile in which she pretended to be him while seeking potential love interests with young women online. Once these connections were made, the woman would contact the real Andersen through his legitimate social-media accounts, now taking on the identity of the young women she had befriended while posing as Andersen.

The idea, investigators say, was to create scenarios in which she could force Andersen into career-threatening situations and he'd be forced to pay "hush money."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 11, 2013 A4


Updated on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 11:23 AM CST: Changes photo

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