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Former Spokane doctor sentenced to 8 years in federal prison after paying hitman to kidnap estranged wife

On top of spending eight years in prison, Ronald Ilg will also have to pay more than $25,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A former Spokane surgeon was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in federal prison for attempting to hire two hitmen off the dark web to kidnap and assault multiple victims, including his estranged wife. 

On top of spending eight years in prison, Ronald Ilg will also have to pay more than $25,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine.

Ilg, a formerly licensed neonatologist in Washington state since 2003, pled guilty to two counts of threats in interstate commerce after being accused of hiring someone on the dark web to kidnap his estranged wife and a former professional colleague in May of 2021. 

According to court documents, Ilg sent dozens messages on the dark web under different usernames and sent thousands of dollars in Bitcoin. 

Ilg's first victim was a Spokane-area doctor who he instructed the hitman to beat severely. He wrote, "should be given a significant beating that is obvious. It should injure both hands significantly or break the hands.” He paid $2,000 in Bitcoin to the hitman. 

His second victim was his estranged wife. Ilg directed a hitman to kidnap her and inject her with heroin so she would drop their divorce proceedings. Ilg schemed a bonus structure for the hitman if she was kidnapped successfully and certain goals in the plan were met. 

Ilg told the hitman if this plan was carried out correctly, he would have more work for them in the future. Ilg wrote, “other jobs worth quite a bit to accomplish in the near future. So, if all goes well, then we can work together on a few other things also.”

He paid a total of $60,000 in Bitcoin to have his estranged wife kidnapped. 

Ilg conducted a voluntary interview with the FBI where it was later discovered that he obstructed justice. Ilg shared that he hired the hitmen to kill him rather than the two victims. 

He also begged the key witnesses to marry him and offered to pay tuition for her children's schools to keep her from testifying against him. 

“This case demonstrates how violent offenders exploit cyberspace and cryptocurrency to further their criminal agendas,” said Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. 

“Mr. Ilg solicited and paid for multiple dark web hitmen to target the two victims in this case. Mr. Ilg even stated he would target additional victims if the hitmen followed through with the plan to harm these first two victims.”

The Assistant United States Attorney, Richard Barker, spoke highly of Ilg's victims. 

“The victims in this case demonstrated incredible courage,” he said. 

“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."

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