A deputy U.S. Marshal was convicted by a federal jury this week for soliciting people from Craigslist to sexually assault his then-wife in an elaborate plot and scheme to frame an ex-girlfriend.
Ian R. Diaz, 44, of Brea, California, was found guilty on charges of cyberstalking, perjury, and obstruction of a federal matter in a Southern California federal court on Thursday.
In 2015, Diaz was living in a shared condominium with his then-girlfriend Michelle Hadley. Diaz and Hadley eventually parted ways but there was a dispute over the property they legally shared.
Diaz and his now-former wife, Angela Diaz, came up with the idea to lure men from Craigslist into believing they were part of a doubly illusory “rape fantasy” scenario concocted by Hadley. But the Diazes were actually behind it. The men would show up and attack Angela Diaz. Then, Hadley would take the blame — or at least that’s what the co-conspirators hoped, the federal indictment says.
“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 13-page federal indictment alleges. “It was also a purpose of the conspiracy to interfere with [Hadley’s] interest in the [condo].”
In order to shore up the stories, the couple also sent themselves harassing and threatening electronic communications that contained apparent threats to harm the defendant’s now ex-wife.
“At what point does this girl get arrested for sending this shit and hiring guys off Craigslist to rape [Angela],” Ian Diaz told law enforcement in June 2016.
Eventually, law enforcement acted and put the U.S. Marshal’s ex-girlfriend in jail for nearly three months. She was finally released in January 2017.
“Diaz and [his then-wife] then reported this conduct to local law enforcement, falsely claiming that Jane Doe posed a genuine and serious threat to Diaz and [his then-wife],” a Friday press release from the U.S. Department of Justice notes. “Their actions caused local law enforcement to arrest, charge, and detain [Hadley] in jail for nearly three months for conduct for which Diaz and [his then-wife] framed her.”
Angela Diaz, however, was never indicted federally – and is referred to as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the federal charging document. Instead, she was charged with numerous state crimes and sentenced to five years in prison.
“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 A. Polite, Jr. said in the press release. “[T]he 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.”
The defendant is currently slated to be sentenced on June 30. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Hadley filed a 12-count civil lawsuit against the City of Anaheim, California, the Anaheim Police Department and the Diazes. That lawsuit was settled by the city and Hadley in April 2021.
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