Skip to main content

Urn taken from cemetery as authorities investigate suspected fake death scam

  • Author:
  • Updated:

An urn was removed from a Minneapolis cemetery by federal authorities, as part of what charges say was an elaborate scheme to fake a man's death and net his wife $2 million in insurance money, FOX 9 reports.

The urn at Lakewood Cemetery supposedly contains the remains of Igor Vorotinov, and was placed there by his wife following his death. The couple lived in Maple Grove for 21 years, and used to run a car dealership.

This embed is invalid

In 2011 however, tragedy struck.

Moldova police got a phone call in October of 2011, saying a dead body was found at the entrance of the Cojusna village, U.S. authorities say in a federal indictment. Documents recovered from the body – including a passport, hotel cards, and contact phone numbers – identified the man as Vorotinov.

His wife, Irina Vorotinov, flew to Moldova to identify him, and had the body cremated.

But federal authorities say Vorotinov never died.

They claim he's alive, in eastern Europe, and the $2 million life insurance claim Irina Vorotinov received from Mutual of Omaha – a policy purchased about 18 months before his supposed death – is fraudulent.

The urn was taken from the cemetery on May 5, the Star Tribune says. Irina Vorotinov, now 48, and her 25-year-old son Alkon Vorotinov (who is also charged), told the paper they didn't know it had been removed.

Both were initially charged by federal authorities in January. The next month, Irina and Igor Vorotinov were indicted by a federal grand jury, KARE 11 reported, charged with mail fraud.

Alkon Vorotinov also faces charges, and is accused of helping to cover up the scheme. Authorities say he and his mother transferred $1.5 million from the life insurance payout to bank account in Switzerland and Moldova.

Federal investigators were tipped off to the suspected fraud in June of 2013, when an unknown source in Moldova suggested Igor Vorotinov faked his own death.

In November, Alkon Vorotinov was stopped by Customs and Border Protection at the Detroit airport while returning to Minneapolis from Moldova. Agents detained his laptop, and after obtaining a search warrant, discovered photos of Igor Vorotinov, alive and well – dated from April and May of 2013, long after his supposed death.

Next Up

Seventh Street Truck Park shooting, St. Paul

St. Paul man pleads guilty in illegal firearms conspiracy

One of the guns Gabriel Lee Young-Duncan obtained was used in a deadly St. Paul shooting last year.

Train Days

Historic locomotives to roll into St. Paul for Train Days

The festival at the Union Depot returns June 4-5.

Dalton tornado

Tornadoes, large hail, damaging wind possible in Sunday/Monday storms

The Twin Cities is among the areas that could get hit.

Redtail Ridge Elementary

Sunbather on the roof triggers shelter-in-place at Savage elementary school

The sunbather told police he was trying to "tan and relax."


The Raptor Center's ambassador, Nero the turkey vulture, dies at 47

Nero helped save the California condors before taking up his post as an education ambassador.

Ben Leber

Ben Leber named new permanent co-host of 'Twin Cities Live'

The former Minnesota Vikings linebacker was introduced Friday afternoon.


APM Reports, maker of 'In the Dark' podcast, nixed by Minnesota Public Radio

MPR said "select programming elements" of APM Reports will be incorporated into MPR News.

storm, severe

The latest on holiday weekend severe weather chances for MN

The most significant severe threats are Sunday night and again on Monday.

Arianna Vos

Charges: Driver was drunk, high in head-on crash that killed 19-year-old woman

The young woman killed in the crash was a college student studying zoology.