SANTA ANA, Calif. – A woman was sentenced today to five years in state prison for kidnapping, false imprisonment, and falsely reporting crimes, after framing her husband's ex-fiancée for stalking and attempted rape.
Angela Maria Diaz, 32, Phoenix, Arizona
Pleaded guilty today to the following:
Court offer of five years in state prison
Michelle Suzanne Hadley, 30, the former defendant in felony case number 16NF2004, has been fully exonerated and cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. Her case was dismissed by the Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) on Jan. 9, 2017. “If not for the hard work of law enforcement continuing to investigate and seek the truth in this case, Ms. Hadley could have continued to face life in prison. It is unfathomable why Ms. Diaz would concoct such a diabolical scheme to hurt an innocent person,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Even while pleading guilty, Diaz showed no remorse, compassion, or empathy for the victim. We hope the resolution of this case brings some closure to Ms. Hadley so she can move forward in her life.”
To watch the news conference announcing Diaz's charges and Hadley's exoneration, please click the following link: https://youtu.be/Rbcrj7Himok
Circumstances of the Case
- Diaz has been married to John Doe since February 2016. John Doe had a prior romantic relationship with Hadley from August 2013 to August 2015.
- On April 22, 2016, Diaz altered a paycheck from her employer to add $2,000 to the total and deposited the check through an ATM.
- The Garden Grove Police Department investigated the forged check. This information was uncovered during the main investigation.
- OCDA and the Anaheim Police Department (APD) also uncovered additional fraudulent activity by Diaz, who faked cervical cancer, pretended to be an attorney, forged doctor's notes, faked a pregnancy, and impersonated two of John Doe's ex-girlfriends over email.
- On June 1, 2016, Diaz went to APD and falsely reported harassing messages, claiming they were from Hadley.
- Diaz sent herself emails to make it appear Hadley wrote and sent the messages.
- The defendant applied for and obtained a restraining order against Hadley by signing under penalty of perjury that Hadley had threatened her.
- On several occasions from June 1, 2016, to July 13, 2016, Diaz falsely filed police reports with APD, calling for officers to respond to the home she shared with John Doe.
- The defendant made false claims that Hadley made threats against her life and the life of her unborn child.
- Diaz routed emails to herself, making it appear the threatening e-mails came from Hadley, by using approximately eight different accounts using Virtual Private Networks (VPN's) and third-party proxy servers in order to avoid detection of her Internet Protocol (IP) address by law enforcement.
- In June 2016, Diaz posed as Hadley and responded to advertisements online, soliciting participants to engage in “rape fantasies” and sexual acts resembling rape. Diaz also posted an advertisement herself stating that she wished to engage in “rape fantasies.”
- The defendant replied to men who had posted online, including sending photos of herself and details of her daily routine.
- Diaz told the responders that she wanted them to have forcible sexual intercourse with her, even if she screamed or resisted. Law enforcement intercepted at least two men who intended to travel to Diaz' residence to participate in these “rape fantasies.”
- Diaz told APD that Hadley was stalking her and falsely claimed she had no involvement with the online solicitations.
- On June 24, 2016, Diaz called 911 and falsely reported to investigators that a man entered her garage and attempted to rape her before she was able to call for help and chase the man away to bolster the credibility of her claims.
- Later that day, Hadley was arrested by APD and released the same day from custody on $100,000 bail.
- Diaz reported that the threatening e-mails abruptly stopped once Hadley was arrested but following the victim's release, Diaz repeatedly sent herself threatening emails and resumed responses to “rape fantasy” advertisements pretending to be the victim. Hadley did not yet have access to email at the time they were sent.
- Diaz used increasingly violent language and included pictures in the emails to make it appear the victim was threatening the defendant's life and causing great concern for public safety.
- On July 14, 2016, Hadley was arrested by APD and held in custody on $1 million bail. Diaz was the cause of this arrest and increased bail due to her false statements regarding the increased violent nature of the threats she falsely reported to have received from Hadley via email.
- APD and OCDA continued to investigate the source of the messages. The victim remained in custody until Oct. 7, 2016, at which point sufficient evidence had been ascertained through extensive investigative efforts and the cooperation of the victim's attorney. OCDA and APD sought the victim's immediate release on her own recognizance from custody while continuing to investigate Diaz.
- On Sept. 6, 2016, Diaz forged and possessed a paycheck from the County of Orange, information that was also discovered during the main investigation.
- Diaz was arrested on Jan. 6, 2017, by the Phoenix Police Department in Arizona.
During the preliminary hearing, Deputy District Attorney Rick Zimmer read a statement from Diaz that she gave to police during the investigation into Hadley, before she was found to be the true suspect. In the statement, Diaz wrote about how Hadley ruined her life and should register as a sex offender. Diaz reacted by laughing while the prosecutor read the statement into the record.
Prior to Diaz's plea today, the victim's attorney, Michael Guisti, made an impact statement on Hadley's behalf pursuant to Marsy's Law. He spoke about how Diaz's vicious, monstrous acts led Hadley to 90 days in custody, and told the court about how her damaged credit, job, and apartment applications still prompt questions about crimes she did not commit. The experience has left her with nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder.
While sentencing Diaz, the Honorable Nicholas S. Thompson acknowledged that in 30 years as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge, he has never seen a case quite like this. Diaz's distorted sense of jealousy and lack of empathy led to the calculated effort to ruin Ms. Hadley, though he considered the defendant's lack of criminal record and hopes she will receive mental health treatment. The judge also stated the initial arrests were no fault of law enforcement, and it is in fact law enforcement's work that led to the truth being found.
Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Rick Zimmer, Sexual Assault Unit
*Investigation revealed other fraud and deceit
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 17NF0061 / October 17, 2017