Illinois: Attempted extortion of elections board executive director involved ‘flirtatious’ messages, demand for $3,000, letter indicates | Ray Long Rick Pearson/Chicago Tribune
Illinois’ top elections official told board members he became the victim of an internet extortion scheme after he exchanged “flirtatious” messages and sent a picture to a person he met online. Steven Sandvoss, who is on administrative leave until his resignation takes effect at the end of June, detailed his encounters in a letter to the State Board of Elections in which he said a threat was made to “ruin” him if he didn’t pay $3,000. Sandvoss said he did not make any payments and the online threats stopped, according to the letter, which the Tribune obtained. Sandvoss, 55, the board’s executive director, has had high-level federal security clearance following a Russian hacking incident in the 2016 election cycle that compromised personal data of 76,000 Illinois voters. Sandvoss told board members that “at no time did I indicate (to the person online) that I worked” for the elections board.