The former neonatologist has been sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay more than $25,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine.
Ronald Craig Ilg, 56, was sentenced to eight years in prison for hiring hitmen on the dark web to assault and kidnap victims. The doctor in Spokane, Washington paid $60,000 in Bitcoin as payment for the tasks he asked the hitmen to perform.
This should not be a surprise, as just last year, the US Department of Justice charged a cardiologist with developing two dangerous ransomware strains: Thanos and Jigsaw v.2.
Senior United States District Judge William Fremming Nielsen sentenced Ilg to 96 months in prison, ordering him to pay more than $25,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine. Even after release, Ilg will be supervised for three years.
The former neonatologist used the dark web’s anonymity to direct purported hitmen to assault his victims; the first was a former colleague, also a Spokane-area doctor. Ilg paid the hitmen more than $2,000 worth of Bitcoin and specifically requested that the victim’s hands be broken or otherwise significantly injured. He also asked for proof of the task’s completion.
The second victim was his estranged wife. He paid the criminals approximately $60,000 worth of Bitcoin to kidnap and inject her with heroin so she would be forced to drop the divorce proceedings. He even promised the hitmen a bonus if the task was completed successfully.
However, the FBI successfully intercepted Ilg’s communications on the dark web and thwarted his plans. As the initial investigation began, he falsely claimed to have been instructing the hitmen to kill him, instead of his victims.
He also attempted to persuade the key witness to marry him so he could control her testimony in court. He offered to pay for her children’s tuition fees to attend St. Aloysius Catholic School and Gonzaga Preparatory School.
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After pleading guilty to his crimes, Ilg tried to profit from them by seeking “a book or movie deal.” Judge Nielsen described Ilg’s behaviour as “really egregious, and even evil,” while emphasizing the irony of Ilg’s actions as a doctor.
“A doctor’s goal in life is to protect people, keeping people alive – not taking overt steps to do the opposite,” he said.
In a DoJ press release, Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, said that “This case demonstrates that even the anonymity of the dark web will not prevent the FBI from identifying and disrupting individuals who are intent on engaging in criminal activity.”