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US pol says Pinay scammed him online

/ 05:35 AM September 18, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois—A top Republican in the Illinois House of Representatives, who resigned in July after claiming his Facebook page had been hacked, acknowledged on Friday he had engaged in “inappropriate online conversations” with a woman who extorted money from him that he wired to the Philippines.

Downers Grove ex-Rep. Ron Sandack, who had been the GOP floor leader, issued a statement following the release of additional information from a police report that he filed in July.

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The report said Sandack accepted a “friend” request from the woman on Facebook and exchanged messages and a Skype video call before he received messages demanding money.

According to the report, which The Associated Press obtained through an open records request, Sandack might have fallen prey to a scam originating in the Philippines.

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Sandack’s statement described it as 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,” said Sandack, who is married with two children, of a video conversation he had with a woman he believed to be in her early 20s.

“Subsequently, counterfeit social media accounts were created jeopardizing my online identity. Nonetheless, I was a victim. Poor decisions on my part enabled me to be a victim,” he said.

Downers Grove police concluded their investigation without filing charges. Their latest report said the FBI facilitated a conversation between Sandack and the Philippine National Police, but the local police warned him there was little they could do with a crime committed outside the United States.

Sandack told police he exchanged several messages and one video call on Skype after he accepted a Facebook friend request from the woman on July 7.

The day after the Skype call, Sandack received a message that included a list of his Facebook contacts and demanded that he wire money to the Philippines.

After sending an undisclosed amount, he was threatened with consequences if he didn’t send more. He ignored those demands but wired cash a second time after learning that at least two fictitious Facebook pages had been created in his name.

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He contacted Facebook—which shut down the pages—but after more messages arrived Sandack notified police.

The report included redacted sections that appeared to contain the identities of the scammers through Facebook and Skype accounts and the people who picked up the wired money, but it is unclear whether the suspects were identified.

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TAGS: Downers Grove, House of Representatives, Illinois, online scam, Ron Sandack, scam
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