ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen was the victim of a wide-ranging Internet hoax that resulted in a raid of his Denver-area home last year, his lawyer said Wednesday, and prosecutors confirmed Andersen was cleared of wrongdoing in the "extremely complex" case.
Lisa Pinto, spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, told The Associated Press that the office is reviewing a 4,000-page report before charging decisions are made, but added that "based on the information that we have been able to obtain and analyze, we are not pursuing charges against Chris Andersen."
Andersen's lawyer and agent, Mark Bryant, said his client was duped by a woman in Canada who sought a relationship and gifts and who threatened a female acquaintance of Andersen's in California while impersonating the tattoo-covered fan favorite known as "Birdman."
Bryant said neither Andersen nor his acquaintance realized they weren't communicating with each other online or via cellphone texts but rather were communicating with the woman in Canada, who impersonated one to the other.
The Canadian woman initially contacted Andersen through his now-shuttered Facebook profile, Bryant said.
"Chris was a victim," said Bryant, adding it was his understanding that the investigation uncovered at least a dozen people across several other states who were duped by the same woman who's been charged in Canada.
Although she was arrested in January, her connection to Andersen's situation didn't become clear until recently, Bryant said.
Sgt. Line Karpish, a spokeswoman with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said Douglas County, Colo., authorities requested assistance on the case in May 2012, and that investigation led to the January arrest of Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, of Easterville Manitoba.
Chartier was charged with possession and transmission of child pornography, extortion and utter threats, Karpish said. Her next court appearance is Oct. 22.
Chartier also faces possible charges in Colorado.
"It would be premature for us here at the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office to discuss this case before filing charges," Pinto said. "We are looking at 4,000 pages of information in relation to an investigation that is extremely complex. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has conducted a highly sophisticated investigation where they have crossed state lines and international borders to obtain evidence and pursue the truth in this case. We will announce our findings in the near future after a careful review of the evidence."
In May 2012, Douglas County Sheriff's detectives searched Andersen's Larkspur home as part of an ongoing investigation by the department's Internet Crimes Against Children unit.