Crosby not involved in MySpace page about him that seeks $3000

| Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sidney Crosby is the latest celebrity victim of impersonation.

Some fans may think Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby scored an assist for a Minnesota park this week, but neither he nor park officials knew anything about an apparently bogus effort to raise money in his name through a MySpace page.

A message sent Monday from the MySpace page, "If You See Crosby," asked for help to raise $3,000 for Phelps Park in Minneapolis. In exchange for a donation, preferably sent via Western Union, "Sid" promised to send a "game-played, autographed stick," the message stated.

"That is not Sidney Crosby," Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan said Tuesday. "He does not have a MySpace page."

In fact, MySpace removed the site after receiving a complaint from Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency, which represents Crosby.

Fans who received the fundraising plea were asked to send money to Stephanie Biddlecom, 23, of Minneapolis, a small-time professional wrestler known as "Cerise Keller."

Two Pens fans — one in Indiana County and another in Indianapolis — teamed up several months ago to expose the site after they learned Crosby had nothing to do with it.

"Could you picture Sidney Crosby asking for money over Western Union?" asked Kellie Taylor, 40, of Blairsville.

Taylor's cyber-sleuth partner, Kristi Briggs, 38, filed a complaint Monday with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center in Richmond, Va.

"That's fraud. It's inexcusable," Briggs said.

In an interview with the Tribune-Review, Biddlecom insisted Crosby was helping her raise money to rebuild a playground destroyed by a gang. She said she met Crosby three years ago when his cousin began dating her sister. Biddlecom said she speaks with Crosby daily.

Biddlecom said fans sent $500 yesterday, bringing the total to $2,250.

"I don't know how much Sid raised. He hasn't told me," Biddlecom said. "If he has to take it on himself, he will. It's no killer; $750 is nothing to him."

A lawyer for Crosby confirmed her client has nothing to do with the site.

"Unfortunately, this happens," said CAA's Laura Keegan. She said Crosby and other celebrity clients have been victims of impersonators before.

Phelps Park, an urban recreational center, needs no work and has not been burned down as Biddlecom claimed, Minneapolis park officials said.

"That's an absolute, 100 percent fabrication," said Obie Kipper Jr., a district manager with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

MySpace spokeswoman Jamie Schumacher said the site would assist in any legal action.

Park officials said they would like law enforcement to step in, especially if people were ripped off.

Should Crosby ever want to help raise money for Minneapolis parks, officials there said they would be thrilled.

"Heck, we'd love to have him on our team," Kipper said.

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