SPOKANE - A 56-year-old Spokane man has been sentenced to eight years (96 months) in federal prison for hiring hitmen on the dark web to kidnap and assault multiple victims. 

Ronald Craig Ilg, of Spokane, was sentenced Tuesday by Senior United States District Judge Williams Fremming Nielson. The eight year sentence was the highest sentence available under the terms of Ilg’s plea agreement. In addition to his eight year sentence, Ilg was ordered to pay more than $25,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine. Ilg will also spend three years on federal supervision following his release from prison.

According to court documents and information from the sentencing hearing, Ilg, a former neonatologist in Spokane, transmitted dozens of messages in early 2021 through the dark web as part of a plot to injure a former professional colleague and to have his estranged wife kidnapped. Using the moniker “Scar215” and password “Mufassa$$” to conceal his identity, Ilg sent more than $60,000 in Bitcoin in furtherance of his nefarious schemes.

With respect to the first victim, Ilg directed the purported hitmen to assault a Spokane-area doctor, specifying that the victim “should be given a significant beating that is obvious. It should injure both hands significantly or break the hands.” As part of this scheme, Ilg paid more than $2,000 in Bitcoin, sent the purported hitmen the victim’s address, and provided the hitmen with a link to the victim’s picture. In followup messages, Ilg directed “I would like to see evidence that it happened. If this goes well, I have another, more complicated job” for “[a]n entirely different target with entirely different objectives.”

Ilg also solicited purported hitmen to kidnap a second victim: his estranged wife. Specifically, Ilg directed that she be kidnapped and injected with heroin – all so she would drop divorce proceedings that were pending at the time and return to a failed relationship with Ilg. Even though Ilg was subject to a no-contact order, he devised a bonus structure if the victim was in fact kidnapped and certain goals were achieved. Ilg again promised the hitmen that he had “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.” In all, Ilg paid more than $60,000 in Bitcoin so the hitmen would kidnap this victim.

After the FBI obtained copies of Ilg’s dark web messages, he also obstructed justice. First, during a voluntary interview with the FBI, Ilg falsely claimed he paid the hitmen to kill him, rather than his victims. Second, Ilg sent a letter to a key witness against him, begging the witness to marry him so he could control whether she testified. He even offered to pay tuition for the witness’s children to attend St. Aloysius Catholic School and Gonzaga Preparatory School. Ilg also directed the witness to destroy evidence by burning Ilg’s letter. More recently, and after pleading guilty to his crimes, Ilg sought “a book or movie deal” so that Ilg could obtain “a lot of financial gain” from his crimes.

Judge Nielsen described Ilg’s conduct as “really egregious, and even evil,” and highlighted that “not only were there numerous communications, you spent a lot of money to hire these people to ensure what you asked them to do would be done.”  Judge Nielsen also emphasized that Ilg’s crimes were all the more egregious given his career as a doctor, “A doctor’s goal in life is to protect people, keeping people alive – not taking overt steps to do the opposite."