SANTA ANA, Calif. - A U.S. marshal from Brea faces federal cyberstalking charges for allegedly framing his ex-fiancee, causing her to be wrongly arrested by Anaheim police and charged with stalking and attempted rape, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.
An indictment returned Wednesday in Santa Ana alleges that Ian R. Diaz and his former wife posed as the ex-fiancee and, in that guise, sent to themselves harassing and threatening email messages containing apparent threats to harm his then-wife.
Diaz, 43, faces one federal count each of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, cyberstalking and perjury, according to the DOJ.
Prosecutors allege that Diaz solicited and lured men found through Craigslist to engage in so-called rape fantasies in an attempt to stage a purported sexual assault on Diaz's then-wife, and staged one or more hoax sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults on the woman.
Diaz and his then-wife reported the "threats" to local law enforcement, falsely claiming that the ex-fiancee posed a genuine and serious threat to the couple, according to the indictment.
Local police arrested, charged, and ultimately detained the ex-fiancee in jail for nearly three months as a result of the frame, according to the DOJ.
According to the indictment, Diaz and his former wife also took steps to hide their alleged conduct, including using falsely registered email accounts, using virtual private networks to access the internet anonymously, and communicating with each another using encrypted messaging services.
Diaz was arrested Thursday and made his initial court appearance in Santa Ana federal court.
In the court papers charging Diaz, the ex-fiancee is referred to as "Jane Doe" and his then-wife as the "unidentified co-conspirator." But news reports four years ago named Angela M. Diaz, then 32, as the wife who helped in the plot, and Michelle Hadley as the victim.
Angela Diaz pleaded guilty in October 2017 in Orange County Superior Court to 10 felony and 22 misdemeanor charges, including kidnapping, false imprisonment and falsely reporting a crime to a peace officer. She was sentenced in October 2017 to five years in prison.
The case stretches back to June 2016, when Angela Diaz made false claims to Anaheim police against Hadley that could have sent her to prison for life. Hadley was eventually exonerated of any wrongdoing, but did spend about 90 days in jail because of the woman's bogus reports.
Prosecutors said sophisticated computer software was used to spoof emails and make it appear Hadley was posting online classified ads encouraging men to sexually assault Angela Diaz. After Angela Diaz staged an attempted sexual assault on herself in which she had red marks on her neck and breast, police arrested Hadley.
The city of Anaheim settled claims last month with Hadley that it unfairly prosecuted and jailed her. Details of the settlement were not immediately available.