Senior United States District Judge William Fremming Nielsen sentenced the 56-year-old American Ronald Craig Ilg to eight years in federal prison.
The latter hired hitmen on the Dark Web to kidnap his wife and beat his former colleague, and paid them over $60,000 worth of bitcoin.
Maximum Penalty for the Doctor
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Ronald Ilg will serve 96 months in federal prison and will be supervised for three years after his release. He will also pay $25,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine.
The former neonatologist from Spokane, Washington, hired hitmen on the Dark Web in 2021 who were supposed to injure a former professional colleague of his. Ilg particularly requested the criminals to break the hands of the victim, paying more than $2,000 worth of bitcoin for the misdeed.
The next victim was his estranged wife. Ilg instructed the wrongdoers to kidnap and inject her with heroin so she could drop divorce proceedings. He paid them approximately $60,000 worth of bitcoin and promised a bonus upon completing the mission.
The FBI intercepted Ilg’s messages on the Dark Web and started an investigation. At first, the doctor falsely claimed he paid the hitmen to kill him and not hurt other people.
He later sent a letter to a key case witness, begging her to marry him so he could control her testimony in court. The American even promised to pay tuition for her children to attend St. Aloysius Catholic School and Gonzaga Preparatory School.
Judge Nielsen, who ruled the maximum sentence, described Ilg’s crime as “really egregious, and even evil.” He further stated:
“A doctor’s goal in life is to protect people, keeping people alive – not taking overt steps to do the opposite.”
Vanessa Waldref – US Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington – said this case demonstrates how violent individuals could exploit cyberspace and cryptocurrencies to finance their gruesome intentions.
Assistant US Attorney Richard Barker added that Ilg tried to profit from his crimes by selling the story to the media. He congratulated the victims for their “incredible courage” and shed more light on the doctor’s plans:
“Even before Mr. Ilg sent his terrifying messages through the dark Web and paid more than $60,000 to multiple purported hitmen, Mr. Ilg sought to manipulate and maintain control his victims – sending them harassing text messages, placing GPS trackers on their cars, and even subjecting them to domestic abuse.”
Jessica Sledge’s Case
The American authorities have some experience with such cases as last summer they sentenced Jessica Sledge – resident of Pelahatchie, Mississippi – to ten years in jail.
She paid $10,000 in bitcoin to a Dark Web hitman who had to kill her husband, but the FBI detected the plot. Apart from the prison time, she paid a $1,000 fine, and law enforcement agents will monitor her actions three years after her release.
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