Dr. Ronald Craig Ilg, a neonatal physician from Spokane, Washington, is in hot water after being accused of asking someone on the dark web to kidnap his estranged wife. We are just thankful the authorities thwarted the alleged plot before it was too late.
Reporting Her Husband
Dr. Ilg has been charged with attempted kidnapping, which comes with a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison. The FBI says they first learned of the alleged plot from his wife.
She says she first learned of the potential threat after a group of unnamed international news organizations started investigating the “dark web”, which refers to areas of the internet that are either encrypted or unsearchable. Users often buy and sell illicit materials or services on the dark web, making it a hotspot for criminals.
Ilg’s wife then turned over the alleged messages to the FBI. She accuses him of trying to hire someone to kidnap her over a seven-day period, which would have coincided with Ilg’s trip to Mexico last weekend. Records show he placed Bitcoin, a form of cryptocurrency, in escrow as a form of payment.
According to the authorities, the “person” was supposed to take the woman hostage and meet several “goals” in order to receive bonus payments, including making sure the woman didn’t tell anyone about the kidnapping, and forcing her to inject heroin twice a day along with photographic evidence.
The post included instructions for the kidnapping, and said if her friends or co-workers raise questions, she “could say she has COVID and is quarantined.” The bounty was set at $40,000.
The authorities also allege that Ilg tried to hire someone via the dark web to break the hands of one of his former employees, also female, again agreeing to pay with cryptocurrency.
“The target should be given a significant beating that is obvious. It should injure both hands significantly or break the hands,” the posting read. It also mentioned that around $2,000 in bitcoin would be placed in escrow to pay for the assault.
Cryptocurrency has been used to facilitate a range of criminal-related transactions. It’s controlled on the blockchain, which functions outside of regulatory agencies and nation states. Money can be transferred immediately, and users can choose to remain anonymous. CNBC reports that illicit activity made up 0.34% of all cryptocurrency transaction volume during 2020.
Digital hackers often ask for Bitcoin when spreading malware or holding someone’s data hostage. However, cryptocurrency has become more mainstream in recent years. Today, a single bitcoin costs around $55,565.40.
Closing in on the Suspect
Once the authorities were made aware of the situation, they started closing in on the doctor. Earlier this month, the FBI raided Ilg’s home in a neighborhood known as Otis Orchards. They found online records of him negotiating to have his wife kidnaped, as well as instructions to force her to drop “court proceedings” against him.
The FBI met Ilg at Spokane International Airport when he returned from his trip in Mexico. He admitted he used a disposable phone to contact a potential kidnapper during his trip, but he dropped the phone in a pool in a Mexican resort while vacationing with another woman.
Ilg also admitted to using the plot as a way of committing suicide, while ensuring that his assets pass to the woman he met in Mexico instead of his estranged wife.
The next day, the local police responded to a domestic disturbance call at Ilg’s home where they found him with a black eye and 46 missing Xanax pills. He also signed a note to his estranged wife and the woman in Mexico.
“I am about to drift off to sleep. I pray that God forgives me,” the note read.
The authorities have confirmed that Ilg is now in custody. An attorney has not yet been listed. Records show Dr. Ilg has had an active medical license in the state since 2003.