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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane doctor accused of attempted kidnapping in dark web Bitcoin scheme

UPDATED: Fri., April 16, 2021

Ronald Ilg, a former neonatal physician in Spokane, has been ordered to remain in custody pending trial on an attempted kidnapping charge.  (LinkedIn photo)
Ronald Ilg, a former neonatal physician in Spokane, has been ordered to remain in custody pending trial on an attempted kidnapping charge. (LinkedIn photo)

A Spokane neonatal physician is facing federal allegations he tried to have his estranged wife kidnapped by a hired criminal, using Bitcoin to pay the bounty.

Dr. Ronald Craig Ilg is charged with attempted kidnapping, a federal offense that carries a potential 20-year prison term. FBI investigators were tipped off by the woman, who was informed of the kidnapping plot by the crew of an unnamed international news organization investigating the so-called “dark web.”

The woman turned over text messages in which she accused Ilg of trying to hire someone by placing bitcoin in an escrow account to carry out a seven-day kidnapping, to coincide with Ilg leaving for a trip to Mexico last weekend. The person, according to a posting made to a “dark web” website found by investigators, was to take the woman and was instructed to meet several “goals” in order to receive bonus payments.

Ilg denied the allegations during an FBI interview, according to court records.

Those goals included making sure the woman did not tell anyone about the kidnapping, and forcing her to inject heroin twice a day with photographic evidence.

The dark web is an area of the internet that is encrypted and more difficult to search.

Investigators also allege Ilg tried to hire someone to break the hands of a different woman, a former employee, whom he didn’t like, also using the dark web and 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 on the website, tied by investigators to Ilg, reads. The posting also indicates roughly $2,000 in bitcoin would be placed in escrow to pay for the assault.

The postings include instructions for the kidnapping that, if the woman’s co-workers or friends raised questions, she “could say she has COVID and is quarantined.” The post included an assurance that $40,000 would be made available in bitcoin to pay for the kidnapping, according to court records.

The FBI on Sunday discovered evidence at Ilg’s home in Otis Orchards of online negotiations to kidnap the woman, inject her with heroin and force her to drop “court proceedings” against him.

That same day, under questioning by FBI agents at the Spokane International Airport as he returned from Mexico, Ilg said he used a disposable phone to contact the would-be kidnapper, but that the phone had been discarded in a pool at a Mexican resort. He was with another woman on his Mexico trip.

Ilg also told authorities that he’d tried to hire the person as a way of committing suicide, so that his assets would transfer to the woman who accompanied him to Mexico, not his estranged wife.

The next day, Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Ilg’s home on reports of an assault. The deputies found Ilg with a black eye and 46 missing Xanax pills. Nearby was a note addressed to the estranged wife and the woman he went to Mexico with, signed by Ilg.

“I am about to drift off to sleep. I pray that God forgives me,” the note read.

Ilg was listed in custody of the Spokane County Jail on Friday evening. An attorney was not listed in court records.

Ilg has been a licensed physician and surgeon in Washington since September 2003, according to state medical records.

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