ABC 20/20 has landed a big scoop tonight — talking to the woman who served time in prison for catfishing NBA Star Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen and an aspiring model.
Shelly Chartier posed as Andersen and 17-year-old Paris Dunn online, tricking each of them into thinking they were talking to each other and organizing a rendezvous between the pair where they spent a romantic weekend together at his Denver area home.
Chartier then also posed as a video gamer called Tom Taylor, saying she was Andersen’s best friend, and made threats against Dunn including briefly posting nude photos of her which she had sent “Andersen” online.
Meanwhile, Chartier also posed as Dunn’s mother and blackmailed Andersen, telling him that Dunn was only 17 despite her saying she was older. While relations between them would have been legal, as the age of consent in Colorado is 15, any nude photos of her could be considered child pornography since Dunn was under 18.
Andersen’s attorney ended up sending her $3,000 in the hopes that the situation would go away — but the whole episode came close to ruining Andersen’s career.
Months later, police searched his home for evidence of child pornography, but he was cleared after they traced all the fake accounts used in the catfishing scam to Chartier — who was 33 at the time and ran the whole scheme from her home in Easterville, Canada.
She later pleaded guilty to fraud, impersonation and threats in Canada and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. She was released after serving a year.
As well as speaking to Chartier, this week’s episode of 20/20 also features interviews with Dunn, Chartier’s husband Rob Marku, Andersen’s attorney Mark Bryant, Gordon Olson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Nev Schulman, host of MTV’s Catfish.
20/20 airs at 10/9c on ABC.