A former deputy U.S. marshal from Brea was convicted Thursday of framing his ex-girlfriend for sexual assault reportedly to gain control of a condo they purchased together in Anaheim, the Department of Justice said.
Michelle Hadley spent almost three months in jail because of the scheme that Ian R. Diaz, 44, operated with his then-wife, Angela Diaz, prosecutors said. They posed online as Hadley and sent themselves harassing and threatening messages, according to the indictment.
Ian Diaz was convicted of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, cyberstalking perjury and obstruction of justice. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Angela Diaz has not been federally indicted, but she was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading guilty in October 2017 to 10 felony and 22 misdemeanor charges, including kidnapping, false imprisonment and falsely reporting a crime to a peace officer, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
“[Ian] Diaz’s egregious actions and lies to law enforcement stripped a woman of her freedom and liberty,” said Harry Lidsky, special agent in charge of the Office of the Inspector General’s cyber investigations office. “This kind of stalking, harassment, and obstruction is unconscionable, and yesterday, the jury held Diaz accountable for his crimes.”
According to the indictment, Diaz and his ex-girlfriend, identified in court documents as Jane Doe, purchased the condo in June 2015 but the pair broke up two months later. Hadley moved out but Diaz remained and began dating Angela in January 2016. A month later, they got married, according to court documents.
Diaz and Hadley fought over the condo, and in May 2016, he began conspiring with his wife to “to interfere with Jane Doe’s interest in the property,” according to prosecutors. Using fake email and user accounts for websites like Craigslist, Diaz and his wife posed as the victim and sent themselves messages with links to photographs of aborted fetuses and decapitated bodies, according to the indictment.
“Some of the messages contained express or implied threats to harm” Angela Diaz, prosecutors wrote in the indictment.
The married couple also put personal ads on Craigslist in an attempt to lure people to go to the condo to engage in a “rape fantasy” with Ian Diaz’s wife. They would stage the encounter to appear as if Hadley had hired someone to sexually assault Diaz’s wife.
The incidents were reported to police and Hadley was arrested, charged and jailed for 88 days.
Hadley was exonerated by Orange County prosecutors and all charges against her were dismissed. Had the case gone to trial, she faced life in prison if convicted.
“This has been a huge nightmare for me — probably the most traumatic experience of my life,” Hadley told reporters in 2017 after the charges against her were dropped.
In the fall of 2016, Diaz told law enforcement officials that he believed his wife was solely responsible for framing Hadley and attempted to conceal his involvement in the scheme. He deleted personal email accounts and changed his cellphone number, prosecutors said.
Diaz and Angela have since divorced.
Diaz, who was indicted in May 2021, is set to be sentenced on June 30.