More Information Unveiled in Sandvoss Extortion Scheme

By Benjamin Cox on April 23, 2021 at 5:16pm

More information has come to light behind the state’s top election official’s decision to retire after becoming victim of an extortion scam.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Steven Sandvoss told investigators that the Internet extortion scheme started after he exchanged flirtatious messages and pictures with a person that he believed to be a woman that he met in a gaming app and Google Hangout on or about March 27th.

Sandvoss detailed the incident in a letter sent to the State Board of Elections in which he said a threat was made to ruin him if he didn’t pay the unnamed person $3,000 after he blocked them in the app when he became uncomfortable with the exchange. Sandvoss is on administrative leave with pay until his resignation takes effect in June.

Sandvoss said in the letter that he did not make any payments, threatened to go to authorities with the situation, and that caused the online threats to stop. He also said in the letter that he never told the individual that he worked for the state board of elections. Sandvoss was later contacted by the FBI and the Illinois State Police to investigate the incident and to see if a cybersecurity situation existed.

An internal investigation found no elections data or systems had been compromised by the incident. The full incident still remains under Illinois State Police investigation.