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A U.S. Marshal allegedly solicited Craigslist users to sexually assault his wife in a botched revenge plot to frame his ex-girlfriend.
Ian Diaz, 43, was indicted on charges of cyberstalking, conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, and perjury on May 12, court filings show.
The bizarre plot, which temporarily landed a wrongly accused woman behind bars, stretches back more than half a decade, according to law enforcement.
In 2015, Diaz split with his then-girlfriend, Michelle Hadley, authorities said. The breakup reportedly ended in an unresolved property dispute over a condo they shared.
A year later, Ian Diaz married a different woman. Authorities suspect he and his new wife, Angela Diaz, conspired to frame Hadley using Craigslist. The pair, posing as Hadley, allegedly posted “personal” ads on the classifieds site to “lure” men to their home to engage in a “rape fantasy” of Angela Diaz.
They worked in tandem to “stage a non-consensual sexual assault on [Diaz], with the other party believing that the sexual encounter would be consensual,” according to an indictment obtained by Oxygen.com.
“Defendant [Ian Diaz] and [Angela Diaz], sometimes posing as [Hadley], and based in part on defendant [Ian Diaz’s] prior knowledge of, and experience with, Craigslist and ‘personal’ advertisements, used Craigslist, e-mail, text messaging, and other methods to solicit, and then lure, individuals found through Craigslist ‘personal’ advertisements, to come to the [condo] and engage in a ‘rape fantasy’ with [Angela Diaz].”
The couple allegedly staged at least one or more “hoax” sexual assaults at the condo they owned jointly with Hadley.
“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 indictment added. "It was also a purpose of the conspiracy to interfere with [Hadley’s] interest in the [condo]."
On June 24, 2016, Angela Diaz reported an attack by a stranger on Craigslist to authorities. Ian Diaz, who described Hadley as a “serious threat to their safety”, demanded law enforcement arrest her, the indictment alleged.
“At what point does this girl get arrested for sending this shit and hiring guys off Craigslist to rape [Angela?]” Ian Diaz asked investigators in 2016, according to the indictment.
Hadley was arrested and jailed for 88 days before she was released in January 2017 when investigators learned that Ian Diaz allegedly created several online accounts and email addresses in Hadley’s name. Ian and Angela Diaz both used a VPN and encrypted messaging to cover their tracks, according to investigators.
Anaheim police detectives later testified that Angela Diaz had “faked” the entire attack, including self-harming herself to carry out the lie.
Hadley filed a civil lawsuit against Ian and Angela Diaz, City of Anaheim, and a number of others the following year.
Hadley accused Ian Diaz of being “controlling and abusive,” according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Oxygen.com. Ian Diaz allegedly also repeatedly pressured Hadley into having “sex with strangers,” on Craigslist. At least once, the U.S. Marshal filmed her having sex with a stranger while he watched, the lawsuit stated. She claimed to have been “traumatized” by the incident, which she described as a rape.
As of last week, Hadley and Ian Diaz appeared to have reached a settlement in the civil case, however, the agreement is still being finalized, additional court documents show.
Hadley welcomed the new of Diaz's arrest.
“My family and I have waited a long time for justice, and this has brought us a lot of peace after years of fighting,” she said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News.
Diaz was first hired by the U.S. Marshal Service as a criminal investigator in 2010, according to a spokesperson for the agency. He’s since been placed on administrative leave.
“We take seriously any allegation of misconduct by our personnel,” the U.S. Marshals Service told Oxygen.com in a statement. “The alleged actions of this employee do not reflect the core values of the U.S. Marshals Service, and Diaz has been relieved of his operational duties and placed on administrative leave.”
Diaz’s legal team didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com on Monday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
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