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US Marshal lured men to engage in 'rape fantasy' with ex-wife, then blamed ex-fiancée

Composite screenshots of TODAY and OrangeCountyDA YouTube videos (Main: Michelle Hadley | Featured: Angela Diaz | Not pictured: Deputy U.S. Marshal Ian Diaz)

A deputy with the U.S. Marshals lured men to engage in "rape fantasy" roleplay with his then-wife in an elaborate ruse to frame his ex-fiancée.

The drama began in 2015, when Ian R. Diaz, a U.S. Marshal deputy, purchased a condo in Anaheim, California, with his fiancée, Michelle Hadley. Hadley made the down payment on the condo, and together, the couple secured a mortgage loan of over $450,000 to finance the balance. However, the couple broke up soon afterward, and Hadley moved out, leaving Diaz to live in the condo.

The two continued to squabble about finances, even after Diaz met and married Angela Connell about a year later. According to reports, Ian and Angela Diaz then concocted an elaborate plan to stage sexual assaults against Angela and blame them on Hadley. The Diazes reportedly created email accounts, contacted men on Craigslist, and then lured them to their residence under the pretense of engaging in a "rape fantasy," which the play-acting rapists believed to be consensual.

One of the "men" drawn into the scheme was actually just 17 years old at the time, the LA Times claimed, though police managed to intercept the juvenile before he had any in-person contact with Angela Diaz.

Despite planning the scheme themselves, the Diazes would then report the "rape fantasy" to police as an actual assault and claim that Hadley had orchestrated it, court documents claimed, adding that Ian Diaz simply wanted "to ruin his ex-girlfriend's life."

"At what point does this girl [Hadley] get arrested for sending this s*** and hiring guys off Craigslist to rape [Angela]?" Ian Diaz reportedly asked police in June 2016.

The couple also claimed that Hadley had repeatedly sent messages to Angela, threatening to kill her and her unborn baby, though Angela was not pregnant at the time.

As a result of the allegations from the Diazes, Hadley was arrested and kept in custody for 88 days while an investigation into the alleged assaults and threatening messages unfolded. When officials determined that Angela Diaz had actually sent the messages to herself but made them appear as though Hadley had sent them, Hadley was released from jail. Hadley was fully exonerated in January 2017.

Hadley later described the process of being arrested, detained, and then exonerated as "like your worst nightmare coming true."

The Diazes have since divorced, and both Ian and Angela have been charged in connection to the plot against Hadley. At first, investigators did not believe that Ian Diaz, now 44, was involved but later determined that he had conspired with Angela to execute the scheme. He has been convicted of federal conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, cyberstalking, perjury, and obstruction of a federal matter and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Angela Diaz, whom Deputy District Attorney Richard Zimmer described as "a serial con artist," was not assessed federal charges. She was, however, convicted of several state charges and has been sentenced to serve five years in prison.

In 2020, Hadley filed a lawsuit against the Diazes, the city of Anaheim, and the Anaheim PD. The city settled with Hadley in 2021 for an unknown amount. It is unclear how many faux sexual assaults the Diazes reported to police.

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