A former deputy US sheriff for Brea was convicted Thursday of framing his ex-girlfriend for sexual assault, reportedly to gain control of a condo they bought together in Anaheim, the Justice Department said.
Michelle Hadley spent nearly three months in jail for the scheme that Ian R. Diaz, 44, pulled off with his then-wife, Angela Diaz, prosecutors said. They posed online as Hadley and sent harassing and threatening messages, according to the indictment.
Ian Diaz was convicted of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, perjury for cyberstalking, and obstruction of justice. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Angela Diaz has not been federally charged, but was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading guilty in October 2017 to 10 felonies and 22 misdemeanors, including kidnapping, false imprisonment, and falsely reporting a crime to a law enforcement officer. peace, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
“(Ian) Diaz’s egregious actions and lies to law enforcement robbed a woman of her freedom,” said Harry Lidsky, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General’s Office of Cyber Investigations. “This type of bullying, bullying and obstruction is unconscionable, and yesterday, the jury held Diaz responsible 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 couple split two months later. Hadley moved out, but Diaz stayed and began dating Angela in January 2016. A month later, they married, according to court documents.
Diaz and Hadley fell out over the condo, and in May 2016, he began conspiring with his wife to “interfere with Jane Doe’s interests in the property,” according to prosecutors. Using fake user accounts and email addresses for websites such as Craigslist, Diaz and his wife posed as the victim and sent each other messages with links to photos of aborted fetuses and decapitated bodies, according to the indictment.
“Some of the messages contained express or implicit threats to do harm,” wrote Ángela Díaz, the prosecutors in the indictment.
The married couple also placed personal ads on Craigslist in an attempt to entice people to come to the condo to engage in a “rape fantasy” with Ian Diaz’s wife. They would set up the meeting to make it look like Hadley had hired someone to sexually assault Diaz’s wife.
The incidents were reported to the 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. If the case had gone to trial, she would face 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 authorities that he believed his wife was solely responsible for framing Hadley and tried to hide her involvement in the scheme. He deleted personal email accounts and changed his cell phone number, prosecutors said.
Díaz and Ángela have since divorced.
Diaz, who was indicted in May 2021, will be sentenced on June 30.