During the months-long investigation of a case involving Chris "Birdman" Andersen, there was always one number that didn't add up: 22.214.171.124.
The case involved allegations that the basketball star had threatened a young woman in California named Paris. But, when Douglas County Sheriff's detective Shawn Cronce looked closely at the pair's online communications, she noticed they often routed through the unknown computer at that IP address.
Time and again, Facebook chats and e-mails between California and Colorado zig-zagged north to the computer, located in Canada. Why?
In May 2012 — just days before a highly publicized search on Andersen's Larkspur home — search warrants served on Facebook profiles claiming to be for Andersen, Paris and a mutual connection revealed a clue. They all came back linked to the computer in Canada.
"I would conclude," Cronce later wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit, "that one person is running all three of these Facebook pages."
It would be another eight months before a constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police knocked on the remote Easterville, Manitoba, door of a 5-foot 2-inch agoraphobe named Shelly Chartier, who now faces charges in two countries that could send her to prison for decades.
Court documents in Douglas County district court shed new light on the bizarre case. Chartier, 30, faces charges in Colorado of identity theft, computer crimes, criminal impersonation, theft, sexual exploitation of a child and violation of the state's organized crime law. The most serious charge carries up to 24 years in prison.
The charges were filed in November, although they were not announced by the 18th Judicial District attorney's office. News of the charges was first reported by Newsweek magazine.
The case against Chartier in Colorado is currently on hold while she faces trial on similar charges in Canada. A spokesman for the district attorney's office said prosecutors here are working with the U.S. State Department and Canadian authorities to extradite Chartier to Colorado after the Canadian case is resolved.
Andersen, Paris and several others whom detectives say Chartier duped online are all considered victims in the case.
"It's been a really long road on this," said Mark Bryant, Andersen's attorney and agent.
According to the arrest affidavit, Chartier set up a fake Facebook profile for Andersen and snared Paris — who was 17 at the time but claimed to be 18 — when she unwittingly tried to contact Andersen through it. Chartier then contacted the real Andersen while posing as Paris and kept relaying messages and explicit photos between the two, while also inserting requests of her own. She went so far as to set up a real-life liaison between the pair in December 2011, according to the affidavit.
When Paris later refused to fly to Indianapolis to steal the passwords of a professional video-game player, prosecutors allege that Chartier grew angry and, posing as Andersen, threatened Paris. Posing as Paris's mom, detectives believe Chartier also contacted Andersen and demanded money, according to the affidavit.
Bryant said Andersen, a fan favorite for the Denver Nuggets who is now playing for his second NBA championship with the Miami Heat, is slowly recovering from the case, which cast a cloud over his career.
"He obviously has some very bad trust issues, and he's trying to get that back," Bryant said. "It's a healing process."