SANTA ANA, Calif. – A woman was convicted and sentenced today to one year in jail for falsely accusing her ex-boyfriend of stalking and making criminal threats, resulting in his arrest four times. Stephani Renae Lawson, 25, Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, or deceit, and one felony count of perjury. She was sentenced to one year in county jail, three years of probation, and was ordered to pay restitution.
Prior to September 2015, Lawson was living in Lake Forest and created a Facebook account that falsely depicted her ex-boyfriend, John Doe. The defendant posed as the victim and sent herself numerous threats. Lawson filed multiple police reports with the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) in which she stated John Doe violated a restraining order, stalked, and threatened to kill her. Lawson reported to OCSD that the threats came from the victim's Facebook account. John Doe was subsequently arrested four times between September and December 2015 and charged with multiple felonies.
On May 3, 2016, and May 4, 2016, Lawson sent herself more threats through Facebook using her own devices and Internet provider address.
On May 5, 2016, Lawson testified under penalty of perjury at John Doe's preliminary hearing and stated John Doe threatened her on May 3, 2016, and May 4, 2016, through Facebook. The Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) Bureau of Investigation conducted a follow-up investigation into the statements Lawson made while on the witness stand even after the case was bound over for trial. The OCDA investigation revealed that the true victim was John Doe and he was not guilty of the crimes.
On Sept. 28, 2016, Lawson was charged with the above crimes and a warrant was issued for her arrest. The US Marshals Service arrested the defendant in Las Vegas, Nev., and she was extradited to Orange County by the OCDA.
Charges against John Doe were dismissed on Oct. 6, 2016, at the request of the OCDA.
The Special Prosecutions Unit is dedicated to the apprehension and extradition of fugitives from anywhere in the world. OCDA partners with local law enforcement, as well as Interpol, the FBI, US Marshals, State Department, Department of Justice, and Homeland Security, in a continuous effort to prosecute fugitives, protect the public and seek justice for victims.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller of the Family Protection Unit prosecuted this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16HF1357 / November 30, 2016