A Spokane, Washington neonatal physician is facing 20 years in prison after trying to have his estranged wife kidnapped by a “dark web” hitman, using Bitcoin to pay for the bounty. 

According to The Spokesman-Review, Dr. Ronald Craig Ilg was charged last week with attempted kidnapping after FBI investigators were made aware of the plot by his wife. Ilg’s estranged wife said an unnamed international news organization that was investigating the dark web told her of the plot.

Court documents say the international journalists located communications that “describe ongoing negotiations between Scar215 (Ilg’s dark web moniker) and others to assault one victim and to kidnap, assault and extort a second victim, in exchange for cryptocurrency payment.”

According to posts made to the dark web obtained by investigators, in April 2020 Ilg paid $1,984.45 in Bitcoin to an escrow account for someone to break the hands of a former employee. Additionally, in March and early April of this year, investigators alleged that Scar215 “sought to hire a hitman to physically kidnap, assault, drug and assault victim 2,” who is Ilg’s estranged wife, court documents said.

When questioned by FBI agents last week, Ilg “admitted to using the dark web to hire a hitman,” but told authorities he was actually hiring the individual to kill him, so that his assets would transfer to his girlfriend, not his estranged wife. 

After being informed by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office of Ilg’s suicidal ideation, the FBI found the man unconscious along with a suicide note. 

The Spokesman-Review reports that Ilg was taken into custody and is being held at Spokane County Jail, where he remained on Monday. He was scheduled to face a judge in court Monday afternoon. If convicted of the attempted kidnapping charge, he faces up to 20 years in prison.