A federal grand jury in the Central District of California returned an indictment Wednesday charging a Deputy U.S. Marshal with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, cyberstalking, and perjury.
According to the indictment, Ian R. Diaz, 43, of Brea, California, who serves as a Deputy U.S. Marshal with the U.S. Marshals Service, along with his former wife, who is alleged to be an unindicted co-conspirator, agreed to and did pose as a person with whom Diaz was formerly in a relationship (Jane Doe) and, in that guise, sent to themselves harassing and threatening electronic communications that contained apparent threats to harm Diaz’s former wife; solicited and lured men found through Craigslist “personal” advertisements to engage in so-called “rape fantasies” in an attempt to stage a purported sexual assault on Diaz’s former wife; and staged one or more hoax sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults on Diaz’s former wife. Diaz and his then-wife then reported this conduct to local law enforcement, falsely claiming that Jane Doe posed a genuine and serious threat to Diaz and his then-wife, and thereby caused local law enforcement to arrest, charge, and ultimately detain Jane Doe in jail for nearly three months for conduct for which they framed her and in fact perpetrated themselves.
According to the indictment, Diaz and his former wife also allegedly took steps to conceal their conduct, including using falsely registered email accounts, using virtual private networks to access the internet anonymously, and communicating with each another using encrypted messaging services.
Diaz is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, one count of cyberstalking, and one count of perjury for his false testimony in a deposition in connection with a federal civil lawsuit brought by Jane Doe. The defendant was arrested Thursday and made his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas F. McCormick of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each of the counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Keith A. Bonanno of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Cyber Investigations Office made the announcement.
The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General is investigating the case.
Senior Litigation Counsel Marco A. Palmieri and Trial Attorney Rebecca G. Ross of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.