In a complicated, sordid case investigated by the Anaheim Police Department and Orange County District Attorney’s Office, a Phoenix, Az. woman has been charged with falsely reporting crimes, false imprisonment and other charges in an alleged attempt to frame her husband’s ex-fiancée.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas on Monday, Jan. 9, announced charges against Angela Marie Diaz, 31, including two felony counts each of kidnapping and false imprisonment, a felony count of perjury, a misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime to a police agency and 21 misdemeanor counts of falsely reporting a crime to a police officer.
If convicted, Diaz could face up to 12 years in prison and 11 years in county jail.
Additionally, charges filed in July against Michelle Suzanne Hadley, 30, for stalking, assault and making threats against Diaz were dropped.
Hadley is an innocent victim of a “diabolical scheme,” Rackauckas said.
“When a person who has committed a crime gets arrested and charged, that is a bad day,” Rackauckas said. “When someone who is innocent gets arrested and charged with a crime, it’s not only a bad day, it’s a nightmare. We want to make sure that Ms. Hadley is cleared in every possible way, in the courtroom and court of public opinion.”
Diaz’s husband, who has not been identified by the DA, has been married to Diaz since February.
He had previously been in a romantic relationship with Hadley from August 2013 to August 2015.
Authorities say Diaz posed as Hadley in placing and responding to online ads posted by men, saying she wanted them to “have forcible sexual intercourse with her, even if she screamed or resisted,” the DA said.
Diaz also told police that Hadley was stalking her and falsely claimed she had no involvement with the online ads.
Diaz set up phony e-mail accounts using Virtual Private Networks and third-party proxy servers to avoid detection of her IP address by law enforcement, according to authorities.
Diaz also is accused of filing false reports with Anaheim PD, claiming Hadley was harassing her, but it was Diaz who was sending the e-mails to herself, the DA said.
Rackauckas said Diaz used increasingly violent language to make it appear Hadley was threatening her.
The violent nature and perceived threat to public safety prompted Anaheim PD to arrest Hadley on July 14.
Hadley’s bail was set at $1 million, higher than what is typical because of the intensity of the threats.
“We had a serious public safety concern here which caused us to make the arrest,” said Sgt. Daron Wyatt of Anaheim PD. “There was plenty of probable cause here to make the arrest. In fact, this was not a probable cause arrest. It was a warranted arrest after a criminal case was filed by the District Attorney’s Office and a warrant issued by a judge. When public safety is concerned, we are almost mandated to make an arrest.”
However, DA investigators and Anaheim PD continued to investigate the case, eventually uncovering evidence to support contentions by Hadley and her attorney that she was being framed by Diaz.
Hadley was released from custody Oct. 7.
“Once we believed that Ms. Hadley had been set up, we released her from custody and the investigation continued all the way through to the point we are at today,” Wyatt said. “It was the tenacity of the detectives involved that got us to this point, where we could exonerate Michele Hadley and prosecute Angela Diaz.”
Rackauckas also praised Anaheim PD and DA investigators for continuing to vigorously pursue the case, even after Hadley was in custody.
“It’s often said that true life is stranger than fiction,” the DA said. “The facts of this case make that statement spot on.”