Pretends heart attack in Moldova, wife inters stranger’s ashes to fool insurers in U.S.

Shame about Igor Vorotinov’s fatal heart attack, so sad. The putrid body found in the bushes near a rural village in his native Moldova supposedly was poor Igor.

His wife Irina quickly flew in from the U.S., cremated him and interred his ashes in a mausoleum in the Twin Cities, Minn. area, where they lived. She even held a touching memorial service. It was widely attended by members of the local Russian community, who knew Igor well.

Except that Igor used an unknown person’s body to fake his death and steal $2 million of life insurance. Igor spread around bribe money like marmalade to make sure Moldovan officials kept the couple’s ruse moving happily ahead.

Vorotinov bought the policy on his own life in 2010, listing Irina as the beneficiary. An auto mechanic and dealer, Vorotinov then left Minnesota for his native Moldova to set up the insurance theft. It’s a former Soviet republic in Eastern Europe.

Police found his passport, hotel cards and phone numbers on the body.

The responding police officer claimed he had no camera, so no photo of the body was taken. Igor had sadly died of a heart attack, the medical examiner cooperatively said.

Irina hurried to Moldova, identified her dearly departed Igor’s remains, had him cremated, then lugged the ashes back to Minnesota for interment. Irina also had a Moldovan death certificate as proof positive. She gave it to Mutual of Omaha, which sent her a tidy check for more than $2 million.

Irina then opened two bank accounts, one under the name of their son, Alkon. She deposited the money into the accounts, eventually transferring the insurance loot to accounts in Switzerland and Moldova.

Son stumbles on Igor at party

Meanwhile, Igor moved to Transnistria, a small strip of land next to Moldova. He changed his name to Nikoly Patoka and lived there for six years. Alkon then visited Moldova with his fiancee, and just happened on Igor at a party. The stunned kid kept returning to see Igor.

A mystery tipster in Moldova notified U.S. officials that something was up. Officers were waiting for Alkon at the airport when he returned from a trip.

Photos on his laptop showed Igor quite alive more than 2½ years after his claimed death. There was Igor, posing with the young daughter of Alkon’s fiancee in a park. Then again, playing with the girl at a swimming pool. Metadata showed the photos were taken in 2013. And the camera was a Canon IOS Rebel T4i. It wasn’t even available for purchase until June 2012 — more than nine months after Igor supposedly died.

Igor’s supposed ashes were tested, and they were someone else’s. Turns out that Igor also had planted his ID documents on the body, whose identity authorities have yet to reveal. Igor was handed 41 months in federal prison. Irina earlier received three-plus years in federal prison, and Alkon three years of probation.

Someone has to repay the $2 million to Mutual of Omaha. Irina has breast cancer and can’t work. Igor is stuck in jail. That leaves the luckless Alkon, just shy of 30 years old. “He will likely be paying off Mutual of Omaha his entire life,” his attorney Matthew Mankey lamented.

About the author: Jim Quiggle is director of communications for the Coalition.