SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – A Phoenix woman has pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court to framing her husband’s ex-fiancée for stalking and attempted rape, ending a bizarre ordeal that landed an innocent woman in jail.
As part of a deal with prosecutors, Angela Maria Diaz, 32, pleaded guilty Tuesday to kidnapping, false imprisonment, forgery, perjury and grand theft, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. She was sentenced to five years in prison.
In July 2016, Michelle Hadley, 30, was arrested by Anaheim police on $1 million bail on accusations she had stalked and harassed Diaz, her ex-fiance’s wife. At the time, Anaheim police said Hadley had set up a “rape fantasies” profile for Diaz on Craigslist in which Hadley posed as Diaz and directed men to sexually assault Diaz.
However, in January, county prosecutors disclosed that Hadley did not do any of these alleged crimes. Prosecutors said that all these crimes were masterminded by Diaz to frame Hadley.
“It’s often said that true life is stranger than fiction,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told CBS2 at the time. “The facts of this case make that spot on.”
On Jan. 9, Hadley emerged from Orange County Superior Court fully exonerated after a seven-month nightmare that Rackauckas says saw her wrongly arrested on 10 felonies. She spent 88 days in jail and lost her spot as an MBA candidate. All charges against Hadley were officially dropped.
“The most traumatic experience of my life and I’m glad it’s finally over,” Hadley told reporters at the time.
Diaz has been married to her husband, a US Marshall whose name was not released, since February of 2016. Hadley dated him for just over two years, from August 2013 to August 2015.
“Ms. Hadley is an innocent victim of a diabolical scheme,” Rackauckas said.
Among other charges, prosecutors say Diaz faked having cervical cancer and faked being pregnant. She also pretended to be an attorney, forged doctor’s notes, and impersonated two of her husband’s ex-girlfriends over email. Prosecutors say they have not determined a motive.
Diaz was arrested Jan. 6 by Phoenix police before being extradited to Orange County. She had faced a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison and 11 years in county jail.