After having his supposed ashes interred seven years ago in a Minneapolis mausoleum, a Twin Cities man living under a false name in Eastern Europe is charged in connection with a family scheme to cheat an insurance company out of $2 million by faking his death.
Igor Vorotinov, 54, appeared in federal court Monday in Minneapolis after being indicted in February 2015 on one count of mail fraud. Authorities captured Vorotinov in Moldova on Nov. 14, where he was turned over to FBI agents from Minneapolis, said FBI spokesman Michael Kulstad. Vorotinov was then extradited to the United States three days later, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
His ex-wife, Irina Vorotinov, 51, was sentenced two years ago to three years and one month in prison for her role in the scheme that included having someone’s ashes other than those of Igor Vorotinov interred at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
The couple’s son, Alkon Vorotinov, 29, of New Hope, pleaded guilty to concealing a felony and was sentenced shortly before his mother to three years’ probation and 300 hours of community service.
As part of the federal investigation, ashes that had been interred in late 2011 at a Lakewood mausoleum as Igor Vorotinov’s were removed for examination in June 2015. Authorities determined they were not Igor’s.
Mother and son are under court order to pay back Mutual of Omaha, which made good on the claim.
The first hint of Igor Vorotinov’s staged death came in October 2011, when police in Moldova were alerted to a body in the bushes at the entrance to the village of Cojusna. A passport, hotel cards and phone numbers identified the man as Igor Vorotinov.
Irina Vorotinov traveled to Moldova, went to a morgue with a U.S. Embassy official and identified the body as Igor’s. She returned to Minnesota with the ashes, held a funeral at the mausoleum on Nov. 4, 2011, and filed a death claim on the insurance policy. Kulstad said the agency does not know whose remains were interred.
Mutual of Omaha sent a $2 million check to Irina Vorotinov, who was living in Maple Grove at the time, and it was deposited in a bank account. Between March 29, 2012, and January 2015, mother and son transferred more than $1.5 million of insurance proceeds to accounts in Switzerland and Moldova. Kulstad said the FBI is still trying to determine what happened to the money.
A tipster in Moldova told an FBI agent in June 2013 that Igor Vorotinov had staged his death and was living in Ukraine under a new identity, authorities said.
The son told federal authorities that his father had been living in various locations in Moldova and Ukraine under the name Nikolai Patoka, according to court records.
Customs agents stopped Alkon Vorotinov in Detroit in November 2013 as he returned from Moldova, and digital photos on his computer dated April and May of 2013 showed his father “very much alive” more than 1½ years after his supposed death, the court filing read.
Igor Vorotinov remains jailed ahead of a court appearance Monday. Court records do not list an attorney for him.