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FBI agents go online for Gates to nab man in extortion plot

SHARE FBI agents go online for Gates to nab man in extortion plot

The FBI posed as Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on an online dating forum to nab a 21-year-old Illinois man charged with trying to extort $5 million from the billionaire software mogul by threatening his life.

Adam Quinn Pletcher, described by law enforcement officials as a loner who spent hours in front of his computer, sent several letters to Gates demanding the money and asking the world's richest man to respond to an America Online dating service known as "NetGirl."But instead of Gates, the return messages were sent by FBI agents who arrested Pletcher May 9 after tracing his name from a list of hundreds of AOL subscribers.

FBI agents went to Pletcher's house in an affluent suburb north of Chicago, where he admitted to making the threats, according to court documents made public in Seattle Thursday.

The court papers describe a monthlong plot in which Pletcher allegedly used a medium that Gates has sought to make a part of everyday life.

Gates' life never was in imminent danger, no money was paid and law enforcement officials said Pletcher appeared to be carrying out a fantasy.

But FBI agents treated the plot seriously.