ANAHEIM, Calif. – 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, reported Behind the Badge OC.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas on Monday announced charges against Angela Marie Diaz, 31, (pictured) 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.
Under California law, if convicted, Diaz could face up to 12 years in prison and 11 years in county jail.
Charges originally 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,” described Rackauckas. “When a person who has committed a crime gets arrested and charged, that is a bad day,” he 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.”
The DA has not identified the man in the middle that was formerly engaged to Hadley and currently married to Diaz.
He had previously been in a romantic relationship with Hadley from August 2013 to August 2015, and now married to Diaz since February 2015.
Authorities say Diaz posed as Hadley by 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,” Rackauckas said.
Diaz made claims to police that Hadley stalked her and falsely claimed she had no involvement with the sordid online ads.
As part of the elaborate scheme to apparently destroy a person, Diaz reportedly 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.
The newly identified defendant, Ms. Diaz, is also 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 elaborate self-serving scheme prompted Anaheim PD to arrest Hadley last July. There was evidence to corroborate a threat to public safety, albeit fictitious, said the police. Due to the violent nature of the (later-proved-false) threats, Hadley’s bail was set at $1 million.
“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.”
Needless to say, Hadley and her attorney were convinced she was being framed. Even after the arrest, DA investigators and Anaheim detectives continued their search for truth, eventually uncovering evidence to support Hadley’s contentions.
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.”
(Feature image is Angela Marie Diaz booking photo courtesy Anaheim Police Department)