Former Illinois lawmaker resigned after online extortion scheme

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Sept. 17 (UPI) — Former Illinois state Rep. Ron Sandack, who abruptly resigned in July, released a statement Friday saying he was the victim of an online sexual extortion ring.

Sandack, 52, said he became involved with a woman on Facebook and had a conversation with her via Skype. The woman reportedly told Sandack she had recorded their online encounter and would distribute it unless he paid her.

He sent an undisclosed sum to the woman in the Philippines.

“This past July, I was the target of an international crime ring focusing on high profile individuals luring them to engage in inappropriate online conversations with the intent of extortion. I took their bait and fell for it hook, line and sinker,” he said. “Subsequently, counterfeit social media accounts were created jeopardizing my online identity. Nonetheless, I was a victim.”

Sandack contacted police who conducted an investigation, but ultimately concluded U.S. authorities could only manage “limited follow up” because the woman lived overseas.

Sandack, a Republican, said in his statement that he wanted to “address the nature of the complaint” he filed with local authorities now that the investigation was over.

Snack, 52, resigned abruptly from the state Legislature on July 24 citing “cyber security issues” that forced him to re-evaluate his “continued public service.”

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