NEWS
08/21/2015 19:30 EDT | Updated 08/21/2016 01:12 EDT

Manitoba woman pleads guilty to online impersonation of pro athlete

WINNIPEG — A woman who rarely left her house in northern Manitoba has admitted to impersonating several people online — including a professional athlete  — so she could receive money and gifts and live in a world of celebrity fantasy.

Shelly Lynn Chartier recently pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud and other offences; 11 other charges were stayed.

An agreed statement of facts submitted in court describes Chartier as a 27-year-old with a Grade 6 education, who was constantly and compulsively on the computer when she committed the crimes between February 2011 and August 2013.

The document says she sent thousands of texts, emails, tweets and Facebook messages during that period, creating a complicated web of lies that entangled the pro player in a child pornography investigation and led to a raid of his home.

A publication ban prevents identifying the victims in the case.

Police in the United States eventually tracked everything back to Chartier's home in Easterville, a tiny community southeast of The Pas.

Court heard Chartier's crimes provided her with a social outlet and attention.

"It was an avenue into a world of talented and beautiful celebrities she could only dream about," said the document. "It appears that she would engage in fantasy whereby she participated in the lives of others more interesting than her own."

The document says Chartier had created a fake Facebook page in the name of the professional athlete and was contacted by a young woman from California who had a romantic interest in the sports star.

Eventually the woman, who claimed to be 21 but was actually 17, sent her naked photos.

Using the name of a professional video game player, with the images of a New York comedian, Chartier created the persona of a friend of the player, the document says. At times she pretended to be the friend, the player and the teen and arranged a real-life weekend tryst between the teen and the athlete at his home.

When the teen believed the player was seeing someone else, she argued online with the Chartier's version of the man. Chartier then threatened the teen and posted her nude pictures online, along with her name, phone number and address.

The girl told her mother what was going on and they went to police.

In the meantime, Chartier pretended to be the teen's mother and informed the athlete that the girl was underage. Chartier threatened to publicly embarrass him if he didn't buy her items online from Victoria's Secret and Amazon.

While the court document says it was not illegal for the player to have sex with the 17-year-old because she was legally able to give consent, the player got his lawyer to pay Chartier $3,000 to avoid disrupting his career.

While assuming the player's identity, Chartier also befriended an actress in California and convinced her to help a young woman who had lost everything in a fire in Canada. The actress shipped some of her clothes, at least $2,000 worth, to Chartier's home in Manitoba.

Another online victim included a woman in Texas, who bought Chartier a puppy and was about to give her a car.

The document says media covered the police search of the player's home in 2012. "He was let go shortly afterwards ... and he could no longer volunteer with children's charities he had been involved with."

The athlete later signed with another team.

Chartier's lawyer John Skinner says he has recommended the woman receive a conditional sentence she can serve in the community. The Crown has asked for 16 to 18 months in jail.

A judge has reserved sentencing for a later date.

— By Chris Purdy in Edmonton

The Canadian Press