November 26, 2018 10:36 PM
A Minnesota man who didn't want to be found was located and appeared in person in a federal courtroom Monday in Minneapolis.
Igor Vorotinov, 54, pleaded not guilty to charges that he faked his own death to cash in on a $2 million life insurance policy from Mutual of Omaha.
During the hearing, the judge also ruled given Igor's history of "disappearing" he was a flight risk and must remain in protective custody until his trial in January 2019.
Vorotinov had lived and worked in Maple Grove for 20-plus years. He had a wife and two sons. In 2010, the auto mechanic took out a large life insurance policy. He named two beneficiaries: his now ex-wife, Irina Vorotinov and one of the couple's sons, Alkon.
According to federal court records, Vorotinov disappeared from Minnesota to Moldova. For years, folks were convinced he had died. Even the insurance company, which paid out the policy. Everyone thought he was gone for good. And that, was the point, according to federal prosecutor David McLaughlin. In the criminal charges, it's alleged Igor concocted his own death by "arranging for the corpse of an unknown person" to be discovered near bushes along a road in a small Moldovan town.
The indictment also said, "Igor's passport and other identification documents were found in the pockets."
In 2011, Moldovan authorities contacted his x-wife, Irina Vorotinov who traveled there to make a positive ID, cremate the body, obtain a death certificate and return to Minnesota with the ashes. A memorial was held at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
A check in the amount of $2,048,000 was cut to the beneficiaries: Irina and the couple's son, Alkon. Life continued without question until 2013 when an anonymous tip to the FBI hinted that Igor wasn't below ground, but living and breathing under an assumed name in Europe.
It took several more years to collect evidence, track bank records and wire transfers, and record a conversation with Igor to connect the dots. DNA tests were done on the ashes, and the FBI said they weren't Igor's.
A search of his son, Alkon's laptop unraveled the plot even more. Photos of his dad were discovered and they were date stamped months after Igor played dead.
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Igor was arrested, indicted, extradited and now charged with cheating the insurance company. Given his record of life on the run, the court hearing Monday was a chance to convince the federal judge why Igor should or shouldn't be in custody until his fraud trial in January.
Igor's brother, Eugene, had something to say about that.
"He is not a flight risk-- he has no passport, he can stay at my mother's with GPS on. He couldn't fly anywhere-- it's expensive, if he leaves the apartment, they would notice," he said.
Igor's attorney, Allan Caplan, said he's not sure Igor was aware of the scheme of it's something his ex-wife plotted. Igor pleaded not guilty to the felonies. If convicted at trial, he could face 20 years in prison.
Igor's ex-wife, Irina, and their son Alkon, are finishing their sentences.
One nagging question remains in the bizarre case: what is the name of the person who was cremated in Moldova and brought back to Minneapolis to be interred at a cemetery? If investigators know, they're not telling.
Updated: November 26, 2018 10:36 PM
Created: November 26, 2018 09:57 PM
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