The Pas courthouse in the backwoods of Manitoba sits near the local jail, set back from the road by a quarter-mile of rolling green lawn. It's a nondescript, one-story brick building that serves the small communities in the upper reaches of Canada's Keystone province, where land disputes, petty theft and public drunkenness charges are brought before provincial judges and usually resolved with a handshake and a finger-wag.
Last December, just a few days before Christmas, Shelly Lynne Chartier, a 29-year-old recluse with a sixth-grade education, was in that courthouse, accused of masterminding an elaborate Web scam that ensnared both celebrities and their fans. Authorities say her ruse was one of the most sophisticated they've ever seen. It lasted nearly three years and tormented at least 11 victims, including a B-list actress, a Playboy Playmate and even a member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan.
Chartier stood silently as the judge read the charges, then remanded her back to her hometown of nearby Easterville on house arrest. He also ordered her Internet access to be turned off immediately.
Meanwhile, 2,600 miles away, Chris Andersen was in Miami, anxiously awaiting a call from his lawyer. The 35-year-old NBA player was recovering from the previous night's game while hoping for some news about the court appearance of the woman who had nearly destroyed his career, and his life.
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