A federal jury convicted a deputy U.S. Marshal recently for conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, cyberstalking, perjury, and obstruction of a federal matter in a case that some observers say is reminiscent of the case officials should have made against New Jersey state Senator Joseph Cryan.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Ian R. Diaz, 44, of Brea, California, and his then-wife, an unindicted co-conspirator, posed as his ex-girlfriend, Michelle Suzanne Hadley, of Ontario, with whom Diaz was formerly in a relationship and is identified in court papers as Jane Doe.
Diaz and Hadley had dated for two years, but their relationship ended in 2015. Diaz married his now ex-wife, Angela Diaz, in February 2016. The scheme began a few months later.
In that guise, they sent themselves harassing and threatening electronic communications that contained apparent threats to harm Diaz’s wife, identified in court papers as CC-1.
The couple then 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 her that appeared to be orchestrated by Hadley.
This consequently resulted in one or more staged sexual assaults and hoax attempted sexual assaults on Diaz’s former wife.
Ian and Angela Diaz then reported this conduct to local law enforcement, falsely claiming that Hadley posed a genuine and serious threat to the married couple.
Their actions caused local law enforcement to arrest, charge, and detain Hadley in jail for nearly three months over conduct for which Ian and Angela Diaz framed her.
Prosecutors said the couple set up online accounts in Hadley’s name in May 2016, then used them to make it appear as though Hadley was threatening them. From one account on Craigslist, the couple made it seem as though Hadley had arranged for men to go to their home to sexually assault Angela Diaz.
In one of those purported incidents, the couple claimed a masked man sent by Hadley attacked Angela Diaz in their garage.
Ian Diaz reported the false crimes to Anaheim police, landing Hadley in jail for more than three months.
Eventually, Diaz’s story fell apart and Hadley was released, but it took nearly five years for federal authorities to arrest and charge the deputy U.S. marshal in May 2021.
“Ian Diaz abused his position as a deputy U.S. Marshal to execute an intricate cyberstalking scheme that framed an innocent person for sexual assault, leading to her unjust imprisonment for 88 days,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
“As this prosecution demonstrates, the Criminal Division is committed to preserving the public’s confidence in law enforcement by holding accountable any official who violates their oath of office and victimizes the community they are sworn to serve,” said Polite.
Following a years-long sexual affair, Joseph Cryan orchestrated the arrest of Karen Golding, a lobbyist for Prudential Financial who had previously been the scheduler on Governor Jon Corzine’s 2005 campaign.
Golding was accused of stalking Cryan, a state assemblyman at the time who was simultaneously employed as undersheriff in the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
A team of 13 detectives from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office that was tailing the woman, accused Golding of breaking into Cryan’s government-issued car while the newly elected chairman of the Democratic State Committee was attending an Assembly session on Feb. 6, 2005.
Authorities said they began an investigation after Golding wrote threatening letters and made numerous phone calls to Cryan and others, but the lawmaker misdirected the probe by lying to detectives about the fact that he and the woman had a sexual relationship.
Corzine sparked a political firestorm when he provided $5,000 in bail money to Golding, who requested his help after her arrest. He later said he complied because, “I reacted as a human being responding to someone in need.”
Corzine claimed he did not ask questions about the situation beyond making sure Golding was not a danger to herself or others.
Cryan, the newly elected chairman of the Democratic State Committee, issued a statement Wednesday calling the situation “disturbing” and saying it had “an intrusive and disruptive impact on the lives of a number of people for a lengthy period of time.”
Golding alleged that Cryan used his influence to get her charged with stalking, an indictable offense, instead of a lesser harassment charge that would have been typical in a domestic spat or a relationship that soured.
Her legal defense floundered until she revealed salacious evidence of a three-year-long sexual affair between Cryan and Golding that lasted from 2003-06, and included hundreds of email messages the sleazy senator sent from government computers. Time stamps reveal that he wrote those steamy emails during hours when he should have been working in the Union County Sheriff’s Office, where he had a $110,000-a-year job in addition to his $49,000 legislative post.
During that relationship, Cryan allegedly impregnated Golding and reacted angrily when she had an abortion in 2004.
After learning that she terminated the pregnancy, Cryan allegedly assaulted Golding at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City. People who have recounted this story often mention at this point that Cryan is a devout Catholic, but that does not excuse him for beating up the woman or having out-of-wedlock sex.
In response to a questionnaire from a non-partisan voter information group, Cryan indicated that he would outlaw abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger as a result of her pregnancy.
Golding said that her conduct was not atypical for a woman who discovered that her boyfriend had cheated on her, but Cryan consistently denied that the two of them had a sexual relationship.
Prosecutors maintained in legal documents and court proceedings that there was no relationship between Cryan and Golding.
Cryan portrayed Golding to investigators as “some sort of crazed individual living in a fantasy world,” but the truth was exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Josh Margolin, author of The Jersey Sting, a bestselling book about one of the biggest political corruption cases.
Margolin wrote a story that appeared in the New York Post, revealing that Cryan “graphically spelled out his kinky proclivities in more than 150 e-mails that he sent to a lobbyist — and then fought to keep them hidden after he stunned the state political world by having her busted for stalking in 2006.”
Margolin said Cryan “has an insatiable lust for bondage, oral sex and spanking,” based on the trove of secret e-mails he obtained.
“Cryan urged prosecutors for years to keep the courts from releasing the e-mails’ sexually charged content, while Golding pushed to get them out, first referring to them in court papers in 2009,” said Margolin, who claimed that the “e-mails were written when the pol presumably would have been at one of his government jobs — either his $49,000-a-year Assembly gig or his $111,000-a-year post as Union County undersheriff.”
Most of the emails to Golding’s personal inbox were sent by Cryan from the AOL e-mail account listed on his campaign biography but “Cryan also traded other e-mails with Golding from his state government account and the account assigned to him by the Union County Sheriff’s Office,” wrote Margolin.
Cryan never faced any serious consequences for using his state government and the Union County Sheriff’s Office e-mail accounts assigned to him for disseminating racy sexually-charged messages. Cryan was also never held accountable for his apparent lies to detectives investigating his girlfriend and the misleading statements he gave to prosecutors in the case.
Golding entered Pre-Trial Intervention in 2007 but she was terminated from the PTI program in 2009 and a superior court judge rejected her motion for post-conviction relief as Cryan continued to bring his political power to bear, pushing prosecutors to work mercilessly against her.
Putting the matter behind her, Golding has continued to be an active citizen who was honored for her community involvement.