A deputy US marshal has been convicted in a twisted “rape fantasy plot” that landed his former fiancée in jail — after he and his wife framed her, claiming she had lured men through Craigslist to sexually assault the woman.
Ian Diaz, 44, of Brea, California, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, cyberstalking, perjury and obstruction of a federal matter, the US Department of Justice announced.
In 2016, he and his then-wife, Angela Diaz, concocted a twisted scheme against his ex-fiancée, Michelle Hadley, by framing her for stalking Angela because he was “so hell-bent on punishing her after their relationship dissolved,” CBS News reported, citing a 2018 civil lawsuit.
Their scheme initially worked, and Hadley spent a horrifying 88 days in prison before Diaz’s lies were exposed and she was exonerated.
Diaz and Hadley were reportedly mired in a dispute over an Anaheim condo they bought in June 2015.
The couple obtained a mortgage for $459,745.00 and Hadley provided a down payment of $14,401.20, according to the news outlet.
After they split, Diaz stayed in the condo and Hadley moved out.
In January 2016, he met and married Angela through a dating site, but continued his fight with Hadley over the condo because she was still responsible for part of the payments, according to court records cited by CBS News.
Four months later, Diaz and his new wife started their plot against Hadley when Angela reported to police men had arrived at her home to engage in a “rape fantasy” encounter, officials said.
Angela told Anaheim police Hadley sent threatening emails — and the couple filed restraining orders against her in a “tortious campaign to ruin his ex-girlfriend’s life,” the court records reportedly state.
“It was a purpose of the conspiracy to engage in a cyberstalking campaign to harass and intimidate [Hadley] by framing her for criminal conduct that she did not commit,” the federal indictment read, Law and Crime reported.
“It was also a purpose of the conspiracy to interfere with [Hadley’s] interest in the [condo],” it added.
The couple also posted ads on Craigslist in an attempt to lure men to be part of so-called “rape fantasies,” prosecutors said.
The posts directed them to come to the Diazes’ home in what prosecutors said was an attempt to stage a sexual assault of Angela and then blame the ads on Hadley.
Prosecutors said the two had “staged one or more hoax sexual assaults and hoax attempted sexual assaults.”
They then called authorities and asked that cops arrest the former lover, showing investigators the emails and saying they were written by her, according to court documents.
Hadley was arrested and charged with making the threats “for conduct for which they framed her and, in fact, perpetrated themselves,” prosecutors said.
On Jan. 9, 2017, Hadley was fully exonerated by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Angela was charged the same day with orchestrating the plot. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.
In 2018, Hadley filed a federal civil lawsuit against the couple, also naming the city of Anaheim and the police department, for false imprisonment, false arrest, civil rights violations, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, negligence and malicious prosecution, BuzzFeed News reported.
The suit was settled in April 2021.
Diaz, who has since divorced Angela, was placed on administrative leave after being indicted in May 2021 and was relieved of his duties as a criminal investigator in Los Angeles.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 30 and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.
“Ian Diaz abused his position as a deputy U.S. Marshal to execute an intricate cyberstalking scheme that framed an innocent person for sexual assault, leading to her unjust imprisonment for 88 days,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement.
“As this prosecution demonstrates, the Criminal Division is committed to preserving the public’s confidence in law enforcement by holding accountable any official who violates their oath of office and victimizes the community they are sworn to serve,” he added.
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